Do we really appreciate our clergy?

There are so many times that I thank God for calling me into the ministry of the clergy. So many times that I have been allowed to be a part of someone’s journey of faith, if just for a moment, and have received a blessing that can not be described. There have also been many times where I have wondered why?!? I am doing the job of standing in the gap for God’s people. There have been times when I have been used and abused, when I am exhausted, worn out, frustrated, and hurt by the very people I desire to serve and love. And then I am reminded that even Jesus was rejected – by his family, the people of his hometown, the Jewish leadership, and many of his disciples yet he remained steadfast and faithful to the ministry he was called to. He was obedient to God’s call even to the point of death on a cross.

So, how should I respond to the call on my life to be a part of the ministry of the clergy? First, I must always remember my calling comes from God – He is my master and my Lord and the ONLY one I serve. Next, I must remember that every person God places in my path has the reflection of Jesus Christ in their very being and I love him above all else. Finally, I must remember that God has called me to be faithful – if he wants me to push a rock uphill, then I should push the rock – not expecting to move the rock!

I share these thoughts with you so that you might see the struggle pastors face and offer yours a bit of encouragement. God is using him or her to build His kingdom wherever he or she is at this time. Pray for your pastor, pray for all pastors – that we may truly be Godly women and men.

1. Write him a note telling him/her how good his sermon was.
2. Write her/his spouse and/or children a note telling them what you like about their spouse/parent.
3. Drop her a note or funny card just to brighten her day.
4. Take him fishing, golfing, sailing or whatever else he likes. DON’T talk about church during this time.
5. Offer to watch the children to free your pastor and spouse up for an old fashioned date.
6. Don’t say negative things about him in front of your children or others.
7. Take your pastor and spouse, or the family to lunch after church – your treat!
8. Keep a tight rein on your personal expectations of the pastoral family and the church staff.
9. Be sure the pastor and staff members have at least one day off per week, then ensure they take it.
10. Pray with and for (daily) your pastor and her family. Go by the church office, stop by early enough on Sunday morning to pray before services. Form a prayer group for the pastor and his needs, make arrangements to come by the house and pray for the entire family.
11. Congratulate, show appreciation and love. We all need pats and strokes!
12. If the pastor is not a mechanic or gardener take care of car repairs or mow your pastor’s yard – but only if wanted!
13. If there is a parsonage and a committee, make sure they see to needed repairs regularly, but never assume ownership of the home or enter when uninvited.
14. Good spiritual , emotional and mental health should be reinforced with adequate vacation time. Three weeks is a minimum for people intensive jobs – then make sure they take it! The church really won’t fall down while they’re gone.
15. Chauffeur the family where there’s a need.
16. Transportation can sometimes be a problem for a busy family. Perhaps a car provided for the use of the pastor and staff during the day would alleviate family car shuffling problems.
17. Invite others to church. Then introduce them to the pastor after the service.
18. Provide a freezer for the parsonage and stock it with meat once a year.
19. Provide a phone answering machine for your pastor for times away, days off and for occasions when it’s difficult to answer the phone.
20. Ask, ask and ask again -“How can I help you?”
21. Give, give and give again – tickets to concerts, musicals, the circus, etc. (always appreciated and often out of the reach for many pastors), a new suit for the pastor, lessons for the children if you teach, haircuts and perms for the family if a beautician.
22. Teach your pastor a hobby it’s a lasting gift.
23. Make annual physicals mandatory for pastor and spouse, then pay for them.
24. A staff membership in a health club is a wise investment for the church and good health care for the pastor.
25. Care for the family’s health. Be sure to provide adequate medical insurance.
26. Be alert to special medical conditions of your pastor and family when preparing meals or expecting participation. Heart patients, diabetics and severely allergic people deserve special consideration.
27. Participation in conferences and seminars for both pastor and spouse are necessary to keep their ministry fresh. Examples include: counseling, evangelism, church growth, etc. Continuing education conferences and seminars are not vacations!
28. As a Church, pay your pastor as well as you possibly can. Salary should be flexible and open to adjustment based on real needs of the pastoral family. On an hourly basis, pastors are often the poorest paid professing.
29. Be alert for signs of stress, fatigue from too many meetings, too many programs and long hours in the office and out in the community.
30. Remember the pastoral family’s birthdays and anniversaries, celebrate the anniversary of your pastor’s coming to your church and other milestones.
31. If you have a special talent or area of service- use it for the pastor and staff. If you’re a baker or gardener share with your pastor: offer to do taxes if this is your specialty: or, to review insurance or financial planning. If you are a physician or dentist, offer to care for your pastor and his family without charge.
32. Allow the pastor’s wife the privilege of being JUST HOW SHE IS. Don’t place expectations on her that reflect former pastor’s wives. Love her, learn from her, seek her advice, help her when needed.
33. Include the ministry family in your activities outside the church – golf, dinner, concerts, picnics but give them the right to decline.
34. Allow your pastor’s husband to pursue a career if it is his desire and a need of the family. If he does have a secular job, remember his role will be a difficult one to balance with church, career, family and the needs of his spouse.
35. Buy her something she needs, but wouldn’t spend money on for herself.
36. Buy him something totally frivolous!
37. Take your place in the life of the church. Find YOUR area of service.
38. See that future needs are provided for the family. Help plan for these needs. IRA’s, savings and retirement plans should all be reviewed and kept current for the family. No one can know when tragedy might strike the breadwinner of the family.
39. Be aware of very special needs the family is saving for. When appropriate, make contributions to this fund. Be especially sensitive to this need around Christmas time.
40. Take your pastor and spouse on vacation with you. It can be the trip of a lifetime!
41. Be open to develop a real and close relationship with pastor, spouse and family. Don’t force it or push it. Should these special relationships form keep your mouth shut! Let the pastor tell others if he wants them to know. Don’t expect special treatment or favors from the family because of your relationship.
42. Check your spirit constantly to see if you are manipulative in any way in your desires for the church.
43. Be real and honest around the pastoral family. Take off your mask.
44. Treat PK’s in a natural way. They are real and struggling children, just as yours are or were. Include them in activities your children are having.
45. Keep expectations of the kids in check. Don’t expect them to be theological or saintly.
46. Just as you know the interests of the pastor and spouse, find out about those of the children. Remember them with gifts or gestures appropriate to their likes.
47. As much as possible protect: your pastor’s privacy.
48. Let your pastor know when you have received a real spiritual insight or breakthrough as a result of his teaching or preaching.
49. BE A CONSISTENT CHRISTIAN. Fulfill at least the minimum requirements: attend services and Sunday School regularly. Pray for your church, your pastor and her family and the staff and their families. Be teachable and always open to learning and new experiences with the Lord. Be faithful in your financial giving to the church.
50. Forget the seven deadly words “we’ve always done it that way here”.

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