#1 is We Need Friends. Pastors would like to build real friendships with people in the church. Pastors love pastoring, counseling, and helping, but they need genuine relationships where they can take the pastor hat off. Ask how your pastor is doing. Find out their interests. Talk about normal, everyday stuff as well as the spiritual. Is the only time you talk to your pastor is when you need something or have a problem?
#2 is We Need Help, Too. Pastors feel like they can’t say this in fear they may let someone down because they are not Superman. Sometimes ministry to many can pull us in many directions. We don’t have all the answers, even when we pretend to. Ask who you can call, visit, or pray for to help your pastor. Ask how you can serve alongside your pastor. Are you expecting your pastor to do the ministry you are supposed to be doing as well?
#3 is That’s a Terrible Idea for Ministry. It doesn’t fit in our church’s mission. It doesn’t involve loving or serving people. It is just more busywork the church should not be involved in. Does your idea have a biblical basis? Is it something God’s called the church to do, or is it something any organization could do?
#4 is Church Does Not Exist for Your Entertainment. It exists for His glory. Stop treating the church on the same level as every other organization and activity you are part of and make it number one. Church should not be optional for the believer or something you do only if nothing else is going on. If your take away from the church service is about your preference of songs or music style rather than if lives are being changed and if Jesus is being exalted, you may be slowly becoming a consumer. Do you only attend church events if they are “fun”? Ask yourself if are you or Jesus is the center of the worship experience.
#5 is I love You This Much: It’s Time to Grow Up. Sure your pastor has a part to play in this, but it’s time to take ownership of your spiritual life. You’ve been in the church for 10 years and still aren’t serving anywhere or growing with a small group. Are you a giver or a taker in the church? Pastors love to answer questions about the bible, but have you spent time researching the answer? Pastors love to pray, but are you praying as well? Pastors love to check on their congregation, but is your absence for a legitimate reason? Pastors love to counsel, but are you following it?
#6 is Thank You for That Idea. That has been needed for a while. Thank you for listening to the Lord. My plate is overloaded. Since the Lord gave it to you when can you start? Who can you recruit to help you do that ministry?
#7 is The Biggest Sacrifices in My Ministry are Made by My Family Who Do Without Me a Lot. Pastors typically spend 4-5 nights away from home in meetings, counseling, services all while working full-time during normal working hours. We work weekends. Our Sundays are full of ministry. Saturdays usually involve a funeral, wedding, or counseling people who couldn’t take off work for during the week. Counseling at our kid’s ballgame or when you see us with our spouse on a rare date night is probably not the best time. If you want to bless me, thank my wife and kids.
#8 is We Aren’t Perfect, But You Already Knew That. We need prayer, have frustrations, get lonely, and have bad days. We don’t have all the answers. We need forgiveness, room to grow, and space to mess up. We value your opinions. What doesn’t go right keeps us up at night. We see what is lacking as well, but don’t always know how to fix it. We rarely get calls or texts asking how we are doing. Pastoring is more than a job for us. We constantly think about those we get the honor to serve and often feel guilty when we can’t be everywhere at all times. Pray for us. Help us. Laugh with us. Cry with us. We need pastoring, too.
Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.