Have You Encouraged Your Preacher Lately?
  Some things you can do to help your Pastor and his family,  as seen through the 
  eyes of  an evangelist after thirty years of preaching in small Baptist Churches.
Every Sunday morning your pastor canvases the sanctuary offering greetings to each 
of us with a hand shake of  welcome, as well as offering the appropriate words of 
encouragement and cheer.

He is your pastor, and taking care of his little flock is a big job.  He goes from 
preaching a sermon, to acting as chief executive officer, to moving man and 
maintenance man, to the bedside to pray for a sick church member and encourage their 
family, to removing the trash cans from the street on garbage day, as well as being 
aware of the spiritual concerns of our church.  Often his hours are long, the pay is 
minimal, the criticism is undeserved.

All in a days work when you pastor a small Baptist Church. I wonder how he does it 
all, especially when pastors are expected to be more like a CEO than a shepherd.  
I'm sure he must often experience feelings of disappointment and discouragement ..a 
small Baptist Church undoubtedly is a unique challenge for a full time pastor or a 
working pastor.  Not only does he do it all alone (of course with the help of the Lord) 
he does it without just recognition.

The letter from Paul to the church at Thessalonica admonishes us to respect our 
leaders who work hard among us, to hold them in the highest regard in love because of 
their work.  I have been thinking of ways that we can show our appreciation and offer 
encouragement to our pastors. I'd like to remind you of your Christian heritage and 
Southern upbringing, as well as a command from God, by offering the following 

l. Cut the criticism! Unlike most workers who are evaluated once or twice a year, 
pastors are often critiqued weekly after each worship service, not only on content but 
length of the sermon!  Your pastor studies and works hard to make worship a unique 
celebration every week.

2. Express your appreciation in writing. A spoken compliment is always welcome, but
a written one can be read over and over again for years. When you see or hear 
something  that you like from your pastor, remember your Christian (and Southern) 
upbringing and  write an appreciative note.  The list of deserved compliments is 
endless, but too often the words never come. Be intentional, personal and specific.

3. Use your skill to bless. All of us have unique skills and talents.  That's what 
makes us the body of Christ.  Use your skills and talents to bless your pastor and 
his family.  Is your talent flower arranging? Is it baking?  Is it computers?  Are you
a dentist, doctor or lawyer?  Your skills are a blessing from God and you should use 
them to bless those that minister to us.

4. Offer to meet a need. If you see a need or situation within the church offer to 
meet that need by saying, "I'd like to help by _?."  If you see an area that can be 
improved, take the responsibility for working on it.

5. Be openly responsive.  Nothing thrills and excites your pastor, or any spiritual 
leader, more than seeing people respond to his preaching and teaching. Take to heart, 
and put into action the things that you hear in his sermons and teachings.

6. Pray regularly.  Ask God to shower your pastor with an abundance of love, hope, 
joy, faith, peace, power, wisdom and courage.  Pray for his spiritual maturity and 
growth in the faith.  If you treat a person as he is, he will stay as he is; but if you 
treat him as if he were what he ought to be, he will become what he ought to be and 
could be.

7. Remember them on special occasions. Remember their birthdays, anniversaries and 
other special occasions with cards and gifts, such as gift certificates to a good 
restaurant, department store, the movies, the grocery store or gas station or car wash.
A little extra spending cash is always appreciated.

8. Throw away the measuring stick.  A Pastor's life isn't his own.  He truly never has
a day off. He is always on call.  He can never have a bad mood, let alone a bad day.  
He lives up to a higher standard no matter how high it is, it is still never high enough 
to please everyone.  He and his family are always under the microscope.  Remember not 
to expect more from them that you can produce yourself.  How many of us would like to try
and fill  your pastors  shoes.  The calling of a pastor is a high and noble calling, but 
very costly.  Think about that this next time you find fault with the way he lives.

9. Offer to share your blessings with him.  Offer them your beach house for a week in the
summer, invited your pastor to hunt or fish with you, take his wife and children  on a
shopping trip.  Offer to pay his children's tuition.  All of us in our Church have been
so richly blessed.  Share your blessings with our pastor and his family.

A Pastor who serves God and his people faithfully is worthy of double honor, so the 
Bible says.  We have a pastor that cares for us and our families, and is there for us no
matter what the need. He lays down his life daily for us, and because of this, he needs
and deserves our prayers and encouragement.

Everyday should be Pastor Appreciation Day, but during the month of October we have a
special opportunity to praise and encourage our Pastor.  Please consider the above 
suggestions and possibly you have unique ideas of your own to show your pastor, his wife
and children, how much we need them, love them and appreciate their willingness to serve
us at a small Baptist Church.

We at Johnny The Baptist ministries appreciate you that labor so hard trying to keep
these congregations together, and you have lots of needs yourselves.  But you complain,
not because of your love and total commitment to the JESUS Christ.

Remember; Jesus told Peter to "feed my Sheep," not count my sheep, and Jesus never told
Peter to "love my sheep because some are hard to love."  But just keep loving Jesus and
feeding!  Now you might not ever be recognized by the Sword crowd and the big boys, but 
God almighty knows exactly where you're at, and what your motive is for pastoring a 
small Baptist Church.

This ministry can be of service to you, for tapes, or if you just need a 
friend to talk to.

I salute you

Brother Johnny