10 Ways to Encourage Your Pastor

Pastoring a church is not an easy job. Here are 10 ways you can encourage your pastor (or pastors):


It’s not easy to preach every week. It’s not easy to carry the burden of ministry every day. A pastor rarely hears “thank you.” A good pastor isn’t in the ministry for a thank you from the congregation. They are not after man’s approval but work for God’s approval (Gal. 1:10). They shepherd as one who will give account to God (Heb. 13:17). But a thank you can go a long way. Pastors, like nearly everyone, are severely under-encouraged. My guess is you appreciate the work he does. Tell him so.

One practical way: Write him a letter. Emails usually include a criticism. Handwritten letters nearly always include encouragement. Letters also have a way of sticking around for a while. Emails get buried quickly. Letters are sweet reminders on the desktop after a long, hard day of ministry.


A general “thank you” is more than what many pastors hear week after week, but a specific thank you is life-giving. Find one phrase or thought or action and thank him. Specificity implies gratefulness. If a phrase from his sermon last week stuck with you, let him know. Lots of pastors hear very little specific feedback on their sermon. Imagine spending hours each week to prepare something and never know how it lands on the people you’re speaking to.

One practical way: Immediately after the service, walk up with a smile and repeat to him one phrase from the sermon that you found life-giving. Every pastor wants to help people see God. Tell him specifically how God used him that day.


If God has placed you in a church, He requires for you 

to submit to her leaders (Heb. 13:17). Most of the time, that’s an easy call. If you stick around long enough and invest deep enough, something will arise that requires submission. Do it joyfully, understanding that God is leading this church. If the gospel isn’t being thrown out and sin isn’t being glorified, submit.

One practical way: When he says something that you aren’t fully on board with initially, pray in the moment for a spirit of submission. Unless it is a gospel issue, sinful, or illegal, submit to the leadership. I guarantee your pastor has thought more and prayed harder about the vision they are presenting than your 30 seconds of evaluation.


That is not to say don’t have problems, but don’t create problems. Be a life giver and not a life sucker. It’s no surprise to anyone who’s lived with other humans that we tend to make life harder to live. Pastors often see the worst parts. They are called when the crisis has reached the breaking point. They sit with grieving parents and children during deaths of loved ones. They have difficult conversations for the glory of God and the good of the church. Do all you can to make their job easy. Make it so your pastor is happy to see you.

One practical way: When you send an email with a question or a desire to get together, be specific. It’s really difficult to receive an email from someone in the congregation requesting to “talk about something,” or “run something by you,” or “some feedback on your sermon.” Include specifics as to exactly what you want to talk about, even if it is negative. Like anyone else, pastors appreciate the time to prepare for a conversation.


Pay them well, if you are in a position to make such a call. Speak well of them to outsiders and insiders. Tell them how you see God at work in their life. Use your words to build up, not tear down.

One practical way: Speak well of him in public and private. Your pastor may annoy you. He might not be the best preacher. He may have a quirk or two. If he’s preaching the gospel and walking in the light, don’t beat him up for being who God made him. Instead, speak well of him at all times, just as you hope others would do for you.


Leaders take a lot of heat. Let only their actual words and actions be discussed, not feelings about such words or actions, especially if you disagree. Be slow to speak. Remember, don’t cause problems. Don’t let your prayer requests for others be a shrouded attempt to spread the news that isn’t yours to spread. Don’t be the wind on the flame of gossip. Be the water.

One practical way: When someone shares something you know is gossip, end the conversation immediately. You may be able to do this subtly. You may have to confront. Be wise in how you do it, but do not let a gossip speak long. The tongue is like fire (James 3:5-6).


Pastors love the people of their church, and members who don’t attend are troublesome. It causes much worry. Come and be present. When you are absent, your pastor notices. They have committed to God to care for your soul.

Be tied into the church. Pretend like it’s a family, because it is.

One practical way: Decide right now that you’ll go to church every week. Don’t allow any room for excuses. It’s not only encouraging to the pastor, it’s good for your soul (Heb. 10:25).


Don’t wait for your pastor to ask for your help. Offer it, and be satisfied with the answer of yes or no to follow. What do you have that you didn’t receive? Worship God through the use of your gifts. Even if you don’t love the job, do it joyfully. If you can help, help!

One practical way: Learn your gifting. There are all kinds of spiritual gift tests you can take. Others around you can see your strengths and weaknesses. Ask them. The point is, be ready to serve where and when you can. Open yourself up. Be dependable. After all, you’re not serving your pastor. You’re serving the Lord.


He’s leading you the best he can as he follows Jesus. Trust his instincts. Give the benefit of the doubt.

One practical way: Tell him you trust his leadership and are thankful for him. It’s hard enough to preach each week. It’s even harder when you wonder if certain people out there trust what you’re saying. The Lord asks us to do risky things from time to time. Trust that your pastor is following Jesus closely enough that you can trust him.


Nothing means more than this. Every day is a spiritual battle. Satan hates what pastors do. He wishes for nothing more than a great fall into sin. Every moment, the battle is waged. How often do you include your pastors in your prayers?

One practical way: Every Sunday morning on the way to church, pray for your pastor. He’s about to preach. That’s a hard job! He needs your prayers. When you get there, tell him you prayed for him on the way. Let him know he’s not the only one trusting God to provide today.

— David McLemore is a writer, reader, preacher, and discipler. He serves as an elder at Refuge Church in Franklin, Tenn. This article was originally published at “Things of the Sort.”