When you’re a pastor, there are a lot of expectations and pressures that come with the job. You’re expected to be a role model for your congregation, but you also have to make sure that you take care of yourself so that you can keep up with the demands of your ministry.
As a pastor myself, I know how hard it can be. But I also know that God is always by your side, ready to help guide and support you. Here are some encouraging words for pastors from the Bible:
“Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified or discouraged for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:9)
“I am confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27:13)
“Forget what is behind and reach out for what lies ahead.” (Philippians 3:13)
Pastors are some of the most important people in our communities, but they’re often underappreciated, overworked, and overwhelmed. We say that if we don’t take care of them, who will?
Encouraging Words To A Pastor
Does your pastor need some words of encouragement? From time to time, or in tough situations, your pastor may need a little pick-me-up.
Sure, your pastor is your leader, but that doesn’t mean they don’t experience tough times. Just as words of encouragement help inspire you to be a better Christian, they can have the same positive effect on your pastor.
All too often, feedback for pastors begins with:
- you forgot…
- you missed this…
- you should…
Encouragement can go a long way, regardless if your pastor is doing great or struggling. Words can assist with confidence, motivation, and inspiration.
If you are thinking about sharing a few words with your pastor, read our list below for some encouragement ideas.
Helpful Words Of Encouragement Every Pastor Needs To Hear
1. Let Them Know What You Learned
You can learn something from every situation and every sermon. Your pastor probably hears ample praise when they preach a beautiful message, but what about those instances when the sermon is average, or less than?
Chances are, there is still plenty to learn from an “average” message.
Follow-up with your pastor and let them know about a detail of the sermon that resonated with you. Focus on the message the pastor was trying to convey and share that you received the message (after all it’s about the Word, not always about the performance).
2. Say “Thank You”
A simple “thank you” can go a long way. Saying “thank you” in passing might be forgotten, instead, thank your pastor for something specific they did for your family, or for something they mentioned during a sermon.
Your pastor probably hears “thank you” often, but a heart-felt thank you can go a long way with letting a leader know they are impacting those they interact with. Pastors know their purpose is to lead others closer to Christ, but the feeling of doubt is common even in the strongest Christians.
If you feel called, send a letter to your pastor with words of encouragement. A hand written message will usually be read in private which allows for a more personal “thank you” than saying so in the hallway on a Sunday afternoon.
3. Inform Your Pastor Their Prayer Resonated With You
Have you ever felt that a pastor was praying directly to you, even though the prayer was in front of an entire congregation? I think all churchgoers have experienced this a time or two (read my Church Outreach Ideas).
How many of us have let our pastor know just how much the prayer meant to us? More than likely, only a few.
Prayer is a major part of a pastor’s day. Whether it’s a prayer at a wedding, at church, at a community event, or in the solitude of their home, a pastor is constantly praying.
We know that God hears all prayers and answers all prayers. But it’s very common for others to hear a pastor’s prayer too.
If you hear your pastor give an exceptional prayer, let them know! Chances are, a pastor might be curious whether their prayers are resonating with those who hear. A pat on the back after a great prayer can go a long way, and it may inspire more powerful prayers in the future.
4. Ask To Assist Their Family
Has your pastor helped your family in faith or other areas of life? If so, return the favor by offering to help their family.
People in the church have a diverse set of skills. There are musicians, business leaders, teachers, and athletes.
Encouraging your pastor with the words “let me help you” can go a long way in lifting your pastor up in good and challenging times.
Assisting your pastor’s family might help during a stressful time at church. It could take pressure off in certain areas of their life so they can focus on navigating the tough time.
5. Remind Them, Let God Take Control
If you sense your pastor is struggling, or if your pastor has shared a tough situation with the church, let them know you’re there for support. More importantly, let them know that God is always there.
Sometimes a pastor may feel overwhelmed as the leader of the church. It’s an understandable feeling. There are church members to lead and mentor, leadership meetings to facilitate, community obligations, and weddings and funerals to attend.
Your pastor may feel overwhelmed. Remind them that God is the one in control. A pastor shouldn’t carry the weight of the church on their back, rather, the blessings and challenges can be given to God so we can focus on the minor tasks of days, weeks, and months.
6. Share With Them They Improve With Each Sermon
Has your pastor made a conscious effort to improve their leadership in the church. Have they shared the areas they intend to improve (sermons, financial leadership, delegation etc.).
If your pastor is putting forth the effort, their hard work is likely paying off. Instead of telling your pastor “great sermon” let them know how far they’ve come.
- “Wow, I can’t believe how much you’ve improved since you arrived”
- “You seem to get better with each sermon”
- “The Church board recognizes the effort and progress you’ve made in leading our church”
A comment about growth and improvement goes a lot farther than a “great job” or “nice work today”. Although both comments are uplifting, choose words of encouragement that will also inspire continued growth.
7. Share A Second Hand Compliment
Last week I heard my neighbor make a comment about his church pastor. He was impressed with the sermon and told me the story he heard. I must admit, it sounded like a great message.
Chances are, that pastor will never know that a member of their congregation was paying them a complement behind their back (when talking behind someone’s back is a good thing).
If you’re sharing the message with neighbors and complimenting your pastor, take a moment to write down what you did and share it with your pastor (also read: Best Christian Marriage Retreats).
You don’t need to report to your pastor about everything you discuss with your neighbors, but sharing a story or two would certainly provide words of encouragement to your pastor.
8. Complement Their Preparation
Like every profession, leading a church takes preparation. Your pastor prepares for meetings, for outreach activities, baby dedications, and for preaching.
If you’ve witnessed your pastor working hard, compliment them on their preparation. It’s a different angle than letting them know they had a good sermon and will probably appreciate a fresh take.
A compliment on you pastor’s preparation lets them know you considered all the work the put in throughout the week and not just the final product.
9. Appreciate Their Family and Children
Showing appreciation for a pastor’s family is an indirect route for giving words of encouragement to your pastor. Imagine your pastor coming home to their family and hearing about a thoughtful message they received.
There are few things that can inspire a pastor more than family. Consider doing something nice for them and it will encourage your pastor.
10. Remind Them, God Chose Them To Lead
Share words of encouragement from God. After all, God brought your pastor to your community and God has a plan for them.
Remind your pastor the reason they are in their position. It’s not about an individual or a small group of people. God is behind decisions of faith and God chose them to lead!
11. Say “We Trust You”
Few things can be more encouraging than the words “we trust you”. For any leader, those three words give assurance and encouragement. To a pastor, those words can be uplifting in any situation.
Your pastor is bound to make mistakes here and there. Your pastor should always have the trust of the community, but they might not hear those words often. “We trust you” can go a long way!
12. Inquire, How To Help
If your pastor needs help they may ask for it. Many people however, internalize the need for help or keep it between God and their family.
By simply asking your pastor if they need help, you show you care, and that alone can be encouraging (read my Prayers for Busy Moms).
They might open up and take you up on the offer. Don’t be surprised when your pastor puts you to work removing the old tree stump in their yard.
13. Share A Prayer With Your Pastor
Prayers have been mentioned several times in this article, however, there’s another way to encourage your pastor without having to speak with them directly.
Write a prayer for your pastor and mail it to them. A hand-written letter is great, but a pastor may appreciate it even more if it includes a prayer.
I prayer can be uplifting and motivational. It’s a great way to encourage your pastor even if it’s not a prayer in the traditional spoken form.
Pastors have a rewarding calling. They do what they love in leading others to Christ.
Most people think that the lives of pastors are perfect. But being a leader in the community and church isn’t always easy.
A pastor leads a busy life and sometimes a few words of encouragement can go a long way. If you want to give your pastor words of encouragement, consider one from our list.
It could be as simple as saying “thank you”, or you could put words to action and ask your pastor how you can help. Whichever method you prefer, choose your words wisely and speak from the heart.