We all have things we wish people would do. I mean wouldn't be nice if your kid cleaned their room? Or what if your spouse actually put the car keys where they belong? Ok, maybe those things are pipe dreams but the following are some Pastoral pipe dreams that would be amazing ways for you to support your pastor.
1. Provide the Pleasantly Unexpected
About a month after Covid initially broke out, a local farmer who raises beef cattle knocked on our door. In dismay, because we were supposed to be quarantined, we heard a knock on the door. It was a member of our church. He and his wife brought us an entire cooler full of steaks, hamburger, etc. When I asked why he did it he said, "I figured you would need food incase people stopped giving." Well, giving did dip but an entire cooler full of enough meat to last us 3 months or more was a huge blessing, especially to our grocery bill.
It's these unexpected blessings that really lift the morale of a pastor. We spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about others and wonder if anyone thinks about us. After all the families that leave the church sure tell you what they thought.
Watch Their Kids
Pastors marriages are stressed. Thankfully I can remember the last date night my wife and I had without our kids AND without my phone blowing up. Sadly, most pastors can't. Want to see them be the leading by example? Watch their kids one night a month, or week. Get a rotation amongst your congregation to allow your pastor to regularly focus on their marriage. Trust me they will be elated. Or if your pastor is a single parent give them a night to themself.
Mow Their Yard
I'll never forget we were having lawn mower problems. Someone actually said to me, "Your lawn looks a little overrun." To which I responded, "Yeah, mower is out. I'm trying to get it fixed." On the spot they offered to mow our yard AND they wouldn't take no for an answer.
You know your pastor, what would they appreciate? What would say, "Hey, here's a little surprise to say we care."
2. Be There
I canceled "xyz" To Be Here
I cannot tell you how many times I hear, "Well, I would but we have "xyz" going on." Really? I mean "xyz" includes, "I scheduled an oven delivery." (After they had already signed up to help at an outreach) Or "I'm not sure because I'm going to be up late the night before." Really? You have no idea how much this wears on a pastor. It seems like whenever there's a scheduling conflict the church is the first thing to get scratched from the schedule. At least it feels that way to pastors.
I'm going to say something here your pastor wants to say but won't or can't. It's God speaking,
God said...“How is it that it’s the ‘right time’ for you to live in your fine new homes while the Home, God’s Temple, is in ruins?”
- Haggai 1:3,4
So how often do I hear excuses as to why someone can't help out at church? Everytime. Literally E-V-E-R-Y-T-I-M-E. Without fail.
Most pastors would fall over if they hear, "I changed my oven delivery to tomorrow so I could be here today. I want to help you and serve Christ." Actually before you tell your pastor, go ahead dial 911, because your pastor will pass out.
In the same vein if you've signed up to serve, DON'T CANCEL. Here's something else your pastor won't tell you, if you've canceled it's a guarantee you are number 100,001 who has canceled or not shown up for a church service. I'm going to make an assumption because I do the same thing. When I have to cancel I think, "It's just me, they have plenty of help." BUT that is far from the truth. If you've canceled so has Jason, Bob, Sally, Suzzie, Wayne, Sara, etc. It's just a fact.
Pastors need to know who they can count on.
3. It Wasn't Good For Me
Look most pastors know when our sermon was "on point." We can tell when you are walking out "vibing" over it. But if you want to really bless your pastor don't tell them it was a "Good message" if it wasn't. Stop lying to your pastor, not cool. Now, if you need a point clarified or want to ask a question, DO IT!! That means you were paying attention and we LOVE IT!!!
Remember That Sermon
I don't know if it's true or where I heard this but supposedly statistics say 75% of the people forget our sermons by the next day. They might remember the overall theme but most don't remember any specifics. If you want to really surprise and bless your pastor, let them see you taking notes during your sermon. Then, next week ask them, "Last week you said, 'xyz' and it really stuck with me." Or ask clarification on a particular comment.
Pastors, most of us anyways, love to teach and help the spiritual light-bulb come on for other people. Ask your pastor to lunch or for coffee, we go for that kind of stuff, and say, "I've had this question about this particular passage or issue. What's your take?" You know just an actual Bible discussion. A lot of pastors have grown cynical (our fault) when people say, "I've got a question..." Why? Mostly because it's about something negative in the church or something they think should be changed. Or it's personal, emotional, etc. Rarely, if EVER can I recall someone saying, "Pastor, I'd like your thoughts on this passage" and that's all they wanted.
4. Know Their Cycle
Most pastors have their own personal "sabbath", their day off. Know what it is and respect it. If you have an emergency on your pastors "sabbath" call an elder or another leader in the church. I can't tell you how meaningful it is when someone says to me, "Pastor, I know Friday was your day off so I thought this could wait for today." Man, that says you respect my time, my family and me!!
These four things would be great ways to let your pastor know you care. Oh, and don't do these things during "Pastor Appreciation Month" (which is October), do them at other times when they least expect it. You'll be glad you did and so will your pastor.