One of the joys of being a pastor’s wife is seeing my husband encouraged by the church he serves. One of the hardships is knowing this encouragement can be rare.
Maybe you’re also a pastor’s wife. You know the unique joy of seeing your husband spurred on by the people he shepherds. You also know that sometimes, moments of encouragement are few and far between. You certainly wish they happened more.
You may be reading this because you love your pastor and want to bless him, but you aren’t sure how. This is a great starting place. Remember: he is a person, a heart and soul, who values relationships, and is affected by words and actions (silence, too). While he is “up there,” he is also right here next to you, running the race of the Christian life––and your encouragement may be God’s providence to spur him onward, to give him grace for the next leg of the race.
Paul is one example of an encouraged pastor. During a time of intense persecution in his ministry, he sent Timothy to check on the Thessalonian church. Had hearing about his sufferings weakened their faith? he wondered. Thankfully, it was just the opposite:
[Timothy] . . . has brought us the good news of your faith and love. . . . For this reason, brothers, in all our distress and affliction we have been comforted about you through your faith. For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. (1 Thess. 3:6–8)
The Thessalonian church faced a perfect storm of undue criticism toward their pastor, opposition against the gospel, and tales from afar about Paul’s sufferings. Yet despite these pressures, they stood fast in the Lord––and this news comforted Paul. A church whose faith is growing (especially in hardship) is a huge encouragement to its pastor!
A church whose faith is growing (especially in hardship) is a huge encouragement to its pastor!
We learn from Paul’s letter how his perseverance was connected to the church’s perseverance, and how beneficial it is for a pastor to know how his flock is growing in faith and standing fast in the Lord.
One Simple Way to Encourage Your Pastor
Paul believed firmly in the power of God’s Word to ignite and sustain faith in God’s people (Rom. 10:17; 2 Tim. 4:1–5), and he saw this Word-driven, faith-strengthening power at work in the Thessalonian church: “For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction” (1 Thess. 1:4–5).
Based on Paul’s reason for comfort, what’s one simple way you can encourage your pastor? Tell him precisely how you are growing in faith through his ministry of the Word.
You might comment on one way his recent sermon helped, convicted, or encouraged you. Specifics are most useful: “When you said ______ in your sermon, this is how it helped me.” You could also share how God’s Word has continued to work through personal or small-group Bible reading, or share with him how you talked about the sermon with a person who needed it. Especially during this season where your pastor can’t easily see your faith in action, it is important for him to hear how you’re growing in grace.
Especially during this season where your pastor can’t easily see your faith in action, it is important for him to hear how you are growing in grace.
You will encourage your pastor by telling him precisely how God has been at work through the Scriptures preached and applied. Send him an email, or give him a call.
Three Effects of Your Encouragement
If that weren’t enough, Paul gives a few motivating reasons to take the simple step of encouraging your pastor. Consider these three effects your words might have:
“For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord” (1 Thess. 3:8).
Your encouragement will both deepen his confidence in the power of God’s Word and also increase his desire to faithfully read, enjoy, study, communicate, and apply it. You will help him press on in ministry when the going gets tough, whether personally, culturally, or within the church.
“We pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith” (1 Thess. 3:10).
As God’s Word is shown to be at work in imperfect saints through imperfect situations, your pastor’s awareness of his dependence on Christ will heighten. Your encouragement will lead him to fervently pray for wisdom in the Word and for its fruit, which only the Holy Spirit can bear.
Your encouragement will both deepen his confidence in the power of God’s Word and also increase his desire to faithfully read, enjoy, study, communicate, and apply it.
“For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God” (1 Thess. 3:9).
When God performs his Spirit-led work through his Word, he gets the praise and glory. If you’re hesitant to encourage your pastor because you don’t want to puff him up, instead believe the best of him––his intention is to return thanksgiving to God, for his honor and name.
Written by: KRISTEN WETHERELL
First published 15.06.20: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/encourage-your-pastor/