5 Things Your Pastor Needs to Hear

Betsy St. Amant Haddox

iBelieve Contributing Writer
Published: Aug 12, 2022
5 Things Your Pastor Needs to Hear

Put feet to your words and seek to be a tangible blessing.  

I grew up thinking my pastor was an actual superhero. He was tall and always wore a nice suit, and his graying hair was combed perfectly in place. He had a gentle demeanor and a booming preaching voice. He commanded authority, yet with all the intentional compassion of a shepherd. He was, in my childhood eyes, not quite human. In fact, I wouldn’t have been surprised if, at any point on a Sunday morning, he might open his navy jacket and reveal a giant S. 

Obviously, that perspective didn’t last long as I grew up, but I think today, it’s all too easy to fall into a similarly naïve mindset when it comes to our church leadership. You know how jolting it was when you were a kid and you ran into your schoolteacher in the grocery store? It felt surreal. You probably thought things like: “Wait. You buy groceries? You have kids…you have a life?” 

So do our pastors. And while a large part of that life revolves around the church, the congregation, and their kingdom-minded ministry, they are still very much real people with real families and real feelings and real lives. Just like our pastors and church leaders encourage and pour into us, they need us to encourage and pour into them. 

Here are five things your pastor needs to hear: 

1. I’m Praying for You.

Let your pastor regularly know that you’re praying for them. Maybe it’s sending a text message, or maybe it’s in person on a Sunday morning. Maybe it’s a quick phone call during the week. However you want to express this sentiment, make sure they know—and then make sure you do it. Don’t give empty promises, but rather, hit your knees on behalf of your pastor. He needs it. 

Pastors are real people with real temptations and discouragements. They carry heavy burdens and spend a good bit of their time listening to bad news, processing hard emotions with parishioners, and being a steady rock while others fall apart on them. This can take a toll on one’s emotions and mental energy. On top of that, they’re spending a lot of their time and effort studying the Word, writing sermons, and preparing for Sunday morning. Their plate stays full, and they could use your prayers. 

2 Thessalonians 3:1 (ESV) "Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you…"

If you need the reminder, set a phone alarm for a particular hour every day and talk to the Lord about your pastor. Pray for God to fill them, keep them, and protect them. Pray for them to have the strength they need to continue leading their flock.

2. "Thank You for Shepherding Us."

As we’ve established, pastors are people—and people need encouragement and compliments. Of course, your pastor could get by without a thank you, but why should he have to? Of course, he knows he’s working for the Lord, and His ultimate satisfaction comes from God, but why would you not express appreciation for all he does? Why would you not tell him thank you for his sacrifices and good leadership? Like you become motivated and inspired when you feel appreciated and seen, so does your pastor.

So take a moment the next time you see your pastor to say a genuine thank you. If you can get specific with your comment, all the better. “Thank you for…” But even a blanket “thank you for shepherding us” would go a long way and bring refreshment for a tired soul. 

Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV) "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."

3. "What Can I Do for You?"

Remember, pastors are not actually superheroes. They have their own endless to-do list, just like you. They get overwhelmed and stressed, too, and most likely face additional pressure to keep that hidden. Next time you see your pastor or his wife, ask a simple question: What can I do for you? They need to feel like they are loved and supported, rather than only ever being the ones to show love and support to others. 

Galatians 6:2 (ESV) "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."

After you ask, be ready to provide suggestions. Your pastor and his wife might not know immediately what they need help with and will possibly be caught off guard that you asked in the first place. If they aren’t sure, consider asking if you could bless them with a home-cooked meal or a takeout delivery one night that week. Ask if they need babysitting for their young children for a date night. Put feet to your words and seek to be a tangible blessing. 

Another way to ask this question is to make a statement instead: “I will volunteer for that.” Pastors are often in charge of, or at least have the final say over, many ministries going on within the church. Being willing to step up and volunteer to lead, serve, or teach can be a huge load off the pastor’s plate. If you’re qualified for the opportunity—be it anything from teaching a Sunday school class, to bringing the side dish for a potluck, to taking over the nursery volunteer flowchart—step up and help!

4. "That Sermon Really Encouraged Me."

Pastors work hard every week to provide a solid exposition of God’s word. That isn’t easy. If you’ve ever taught a Bible study or a Sunday School class, you have a small taste of that pressure. Now, multiply it, and imagine yourself trying to prep to teach in front of a much larger audience, possibly even broadcasted on social media to countless people… Intimidating, isn’t it? Don’t assume your pastor knows he did a good job. Tell him the sermon blessed you (if it did!). 

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (ESV) "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."

Look for ways to build up and encourage your pastor to love and good works, just as we’re instructed in the Word. Church leaders aren’t exempt from needing that community any more than the rest of us. 

5. "How is Your Family?"

Pastors sacrifice a lot of time away from their homes and families for the sake of their congregation. Asking about their family means a lot to them. They’re not only carrying the burden of their congregation and the “family of God,” but their own biological family under their own roof. It’s a lot. 

1 Timothy 3:2-5 (ESV) "Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church?"

He's got his hands full. Asking about your pastor’s family gives him an opportunity to share any needs or prayer requests they have. Also, inquiring will allow him to talk about what’s important to him! Maybe his daughter just won an award at school, or his son recently excelled in a sport. Maybe his wife is starting a new side job, or the family just got a puppy they’re eager to show off. Asking shows that you’re interested in your pastor’s entire person. Remember, he’s not just a pastor—he’s a husband, a father, a son, maybe a brother and uncle and friend. All these roles make him who he is and take up space in his life. 

In that same vein, respect the time your pastor has set aside for his family at home. Be mindful that his time is spread thin, and he has a spouse and most likely children or grandchildren who require his energy and shepherding. Of course, he’s available if there’s a true emergency, but be considerate when it comes to calling, texting, or dropping by during the evenings or weekends when he’s most likely with his family. 

Photo Credit: ©Ben White/Unsplash

Betsy_headshotBetsy St. Amant Haddox is the author of over twenty romance novels and novellas. She resides in north Louisiana with her hubby, two daughters, an impressive stash of coffee mugs, and one furry Schnauzer-toddler. Betsy has a B.A. in Communications and a deep-rooted passion for seeing women restored to truth. When she’s not composing her next book or trying to prove unicorns are real, Betsy can be found somewhere in the vicinity of an iced coffee. She is a regular contributor to iBelieve.com and offers author coaching and editorial services via Storyside LLC.