Guest Blogger: Jason Helopoulos

Pastors need your care. They aren’t above it, no matter what they may think. Even as pastors are to care for their congregations, so elders and members of the church should care for their pastors. Pastors need your care–no matter how old, seasoned, gifted, or confident. Today, we will suggest a few ways members of the congregation can care for their pastors. Tomorrow, we will look at a few suggestions for how elders can intentionally care for their pastors.

How members of the congregation can care for their Pastors:

  • Hunger to hear the Word of God preached
  • Invite your pastor and his family over for dinner (everyone assumes they receive a lot of invitations, but in many cases they don’t)
  • Pray for him regularly–that he would faithfully preach the Word, seek the Lord, delight more in the Lord, and have a love for the people he is blessed to minister to
  • Refrain from Monday morning emails, unless they are an encouragement. Mondays are hard days for many pastors.
  • Be willing to graciously challenge him if his teaching or preaching was in error
  • Respect his day off. Most pastors work long days and many evenings. They need a good day off.
  • Don’t expect him to come to everything. Your pastor still loves you even if he doesn’t make your child’s ballet performance, son’s honor society banquet, or even your mom’s funeral.
  • Send an encouragement card every once in a while
  • As tempting as it may be, don’t compare your pastor to “celebrity pastors”–Be thankful for him and his labor in your midst.
  • Babysit his kids for an evening, so he and his wife can go out on a date
  • Insist that the church provide a good salary and benefits for him–be generous.
  • If you have a new ministry idea, don’t propose it unless you are willing to do the hard work of setting it up and serving to see its vision realized
  • Refrain from telling him what you disliked about the sermon as you shake his hand on the way out of the sanctuary
  • Speak well of him to others in the congregation
  • Have no expectations regarding his wife and her service in the church beyond those you have for any other woman in the church
  • Be especially kind to his children
  • Understand that your pastor will not be gifted in every area of ministry and be content with that
  • Be teachable
  • Often remind yourself that he has a lot of different sheep under his care
  • Give him the benefit of the doubt regarding decisions, leadership, vision, etc.
  • Don’t ride your hobby horse too much and too often
  • The greatest care you can provide for your pastor is to pursue Christ with all that you are and serve the church with an uncommon zeal and humility

Please suggest in the comments further ways that you have found helpful in caring for pastors. The list should be long.

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27 thoughts on “Pastors Need Your Care–Part I”

  1. Scott W says:

    Jason,
    Thanks for these words regarding ministry to ‘another member of the body’ of Christ.

  2. Kelley Splitter says:

    I have often found that when I pray regularly for my pastors the holy spirit is faithful to lead me to pray a certain passage or in a certain direction. Occasionally I will briefly share how God has directed me to pray that day. Our pastor has communicated how much that has encouraged him that it was right on with something going on or a confirmation of the message he is about to preach.

  3. Mark Bahr says:

    Thanks Jason. As a pastor I appreciate this. We have labored for many years, including many pastors & elders before me, to instill a culture in our church where the pastors are treated as first and foremost sheep who are part of the church they pastor. Instead of hired hands, we are treated as vital members who have a specific role in the life of the church. It has been such a blessing to pastor the church I’m pastoring right now.

  4. RT says:

    Very true, but sometimes pastors also need rebuke.

    How would you recommend rebuking this man for his abusing preaching: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSJt-LHMNRY

  5. Barb says:

    I served on our church’s Pastoral Support Committee for several years. It’s purpose was purely to come alongside our pastor and encourage him and his family in whatever ways we could. We met with him regularly, prayed with and for him, held him accountable to taking time off, acted as a sounding board, etc. One of the things he most appreciated was a paid 3-month sabbatical, and that committee members explained the reasons and need for it to the congregation. He had never had one before. Pastors have one of the highest burnout rates of all occupations. They and their families live life in a fish bowl. They suffer from marriage problems, depression, rebellious children just as much, if not more, than their congregation. And yet they often have no one to lean on, counsel with, vent to. Your suggestions are great and I pray many pastors will be blessed as a result.

  6. Rachael Woodard says:

    Don’t expect nor demand to be publicly recognized for service within the church. Remember, it’s your church, not just your pastor’s church. If you see a limb that’s broken down, haul it to the right spot, out of the way. If there’s something you can do, just do it. Dead bugs in the windowsills? Grab a tissue and clean them out quickly. Trash on the ground? Pick it up and get it in the appropriate spot. Don’t wait to be asked, just do it. Arrange the hymnals in your own pew, greet the visitors. Too many people want everyone to “have an assigned task” and they can’t just do something that needs to be done without being assigned. In a small church, this falls to the pastor to do, and how much better for him not to have to deal with it at all, because it’s all done.

  7. Ben says:

    Some good advice. Sometimes it can be easy to take service for granted.

  8. MarieP says:

    Great list! I learned about the Monday morning emails by experience, but my pastor was very gracious and kind in his response! And seeking to remember that he has many sheep under his care is vital, to not only for his sake, but for my brethren’s and my own. Even in a church, such as my own, that’s blessed with a plurality of pastors, the best of men are but men at best. And I echo Kelley’s comment- it points us to the Chief Shepherd, in whose hands we all are but tools!

    Some other thoughts:
    – Speak well of him, and your church, on the internet(and not just on his favorite blogs- like this one).
    – Be engaged in corporate worship- be attentive as the Word is preached
    – Eagerly hear guest preachers and teachers
    – Greet and show hospitality to visitors
    – Don’t expect him to know or remember everything
    – Point out ways that his ministry has edified, encouraged, or convicted you- be specific
    – 3 John 1:4- “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth”

  9. EricP says:

    Another article said pastors spend on average 2 days/week preparing a sermon. Why can’t that work be shared? I’ve been a Christian for 20 years, and frankly, I’ve heard most of the sermons before. Maybe the pastor inserts a different funny story, but that’s about it.

    Can we care for our pastors by reducing their workload? Imagine freeing up 12 of those 16 hours a week.

    Likewise, can we stop expecting hand-crafted sermons?

  10. Chadley says:

    As a new, young pastor of a small church, one thing I can relate to is needing to “Give him the benefit of the doubt regarding decisions, leadership, vision, etc.” I am new, I am young, I am learning–but I am appointed, and I wish I was expected to lead as such. Instead, I get suggestion after suggestion after suggestion from some members–it really puts a burden onto my soul, for some reason.

  11. EricP says:

    Chadley,

    Does this apply “If you have a new ministry idea, don’t propose it unless you are willing to do the hard work of setting it up and serving to see its vision realized”?

    Can you respond to these suggestions with a “That sounds like a great idea. How do you plan to accomplish it?” My company has a concept called “Assumed Responsibility” If you see something that needs to be changed, you are automatically in charge of fixing it.

  12. Chadley says:

    EricP,
    It does apply sometimes! (I like your company’s “Assumed Responsibility” concept hah!) However, there are suggestions that aren’t always improvements, and there are suggestions concerning changes that I have made. I listen to these suggestions and try to take them seriously (even the suggestions that can easily be dismissed without much thought), but I wish I weren’t bombarded with so many suggestions (and I wish they gave me the benefit of the doubt before suggesting). :/

    Ah, I need to be careful not to be cynical–that’s been a problem as of late. To those reading this, please say a prayer for me to shepherd faithfully to the flock in love.

  13. Jason says:

    I don’t know what “Don’t ride your hobby horse too much and too often” means… Can you explain that to me?

  14. MarieP says:

    Jason, a “hobby horse” is something that you always seem to be talking about, but in which others don’t have that deep of an interest or disagree upon. We all have them. The idea is, if you think your church should sing more/fewer hymns, or if you think you should partake of the Lord’s Table more/less often, don’t always be talking about it. There’s a valid place for discussion, but sometimes you have to agree to disagree!

  15. EricP says:

    On the “hobby horse” topic, my company also does “Disagree and Commit”. It’s like agree to disagree with “don’t bring this topic up again” added. As a for instance, we made a decision 8 years ago I disagreed with. Once every 2 years, as a team we’ve asked “Is this the right to revisit that decision”. Every time we’ve said “No” after about a 30 minute discussion.

  16. Jason says:

    Thanks.

  17. Reuben says:

    Can all the above points be substantiated by scripture references?

  18. Diane Weston says:

    I would love to reprint this blog in our church’s monthly newsletter. We are Arapahoe Road Baptist Church in Centennial, Colorado. I send about 165 printed copies of our newsletter to our members, as well as a copy to the Mile High Baptist Association (in Denver) and the Colorado Baptist General Convention. Would that be all right?

    I haven’t read Part II yet, but I might need to include that, too. Please let me know. I won’t do it without your permission.

    Thank you!

  19. Kevin DeYoung says:

    Diana, it’s fine to reprint this for your church’s newsletter. Just notice that this was a guest blog and the author is Jason Helopoulos and not me (Kevin DeYoung).

  20. Diane Weston says:

    Awesome! I will give proper credit, and thank you very much.

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Kevin DeYoung


Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church (RCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State University. He and his wife Trisha have six young children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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