Minister-Teacher Resources

100 Ways Boards and Congregants Can Take Care of Your Minister(s)

dove-heart19834865It’s not just the minister who has a responsibility to the church; the church also has a responsibility to their spiritual leader and his/her family. All too often churches have lost good and dedicated pastors because they have felt neglected and unappreciated in one way or another. Paul requested of the Thessalonians, “Appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have spiritual charge over you and give you spiritual instruction” (1 Thessalonians 5:12).

When pastors give their heart and soul for the church and its people, without feeling anything in return, they will often lose heart and give up. When this happens, it’s usually not long until the church has lost a good minister. This can be avoided if the Board and membership does the little things to show how much they appreciate and value the work of their spiritual leader.

Here are 100 practical ways Boards and membership can support their minister(s):

  1. Write a note telling how good the Sunday talk was.
  2. Write the spouse/significant other and/or children a note telling them what you like about the minister.
  3. Email a note or funny card just to brighten his/her day.
  4. Offer to watch the children to free your pastor and spouse up for an old fashioned date.
  5. Take him/her fishing, golfing, sailing or whatever else he/she likes.  Don’t talk about church during this time.
  6. Don’t say negative things about the pastor in front of others. Model appropriate behavior by talking directly to the minister when you have a concern.
  7. Take the minister’s family to lunch after church . . your treat!
  8. Keep a tight rein on your personal expectations of the pastoral family and the church staff.
  9. Be sure the pastor has at least one day off per week (preferably two), then ensure they take it. Ministers are truly “on call” 24/7/365!
  10. Pray with and for your pastor and his/her family. Go by the church office early enough on Sunday morning to pray before services, form a prayer group for the pastor and his/her needs, or make arrangements to come by the house and pray for the entire family.
  11. Congratulate the pastor, show appreciation and love.  Everyone needs encouragement, and ministers give it much more than they receive it.
  12. If the pastor is not a mechanic or gardener, take care of car repairs or mow his/her yard (but only if wanted).
  13. If there is a parsonage, make sure the needed repairs are taken care of regularly, but never assume ownership of the home and enter when uninvited.
  14. Good spiritual, emotional and mental health should be reinforced with adequate vacation time.
  15. Chauffeur the family where there’s a need.
  16. Transportation can sometimes be a problem for a large family.  Perhaps an extra car provided for the use of the pastor during the day would alleviate family car shuffling problems.
  17. Invite others to church. Nothing says “the minister’s doing a great job” louder than asking your friends and business acquaintances to visit.  Introduce them after the service.
  18. Provide a freezer for the parsonage and stock it with meat once a year.
  19. Ask and ask again “How can I help?”
  20. Give, give and give again — tickets to concerts, musicals, the circus, etc., a new suit for the pastor, lessons for the children, haircuts and perms for the family if you are a beautician.
  21. Support your pastor’s hobby — it’s a lasting gift.
  22. Care for the family’s health — provide medical services/counsel if you’re a doctor or nurse. Be sure to provide adequate medical insurance.
  23. Make annual physicals mandatory for pastor and spouse and pay for them.
  24. A staff membership in a health club is a wise investment for the church.
  25. Be alert to special medical conditions of your pastor and family when preparing meals or expecting participation.
  26. Participation in conferences and seminars such as counseling, fundraising, and church growth are necessary to keep the ministry fresh. And remember: Continuing education conferences and seminars are not vacations!
  27. As a Church, pay your pastor as well as you possibly can.  Salary should be flexible and open to adjustment based on real needs of the pastoral family.
  28. Be alert for signs of stress and fatigue.  Too many meetings, too many programs and long hours in the office can lead to burnout for pastor and his/her family.
  29. Remember the pastoral family’s birthdays and anniversaries and celebrate these occasions.
  30. If you have a special talent or area of service, use it for the pastor and staff. If you’re a wonderful baker, take some goodies by the church for all of the staff; if you farm or have a garden, bring farm products; offer to do taxes if this is your specialty, or to review insurance or provide financial planning.
  31. Allow the pastor’s spouse/significant other the privilege of being just who they are. Don’t place undue expectations.
  32. Include the ministry family in your activities outside church — golf, dinner, concerts, picnics — but honor their right to decline.
  33. Allow your pastor’s spouse/significant other to pursue a career separate from the ministry’s needs.
  34. Buy the minister something he/she needs, but wouldn’t spend money on for himself/herself.
  35. Surprise him/her with something totally frivolous.
  36. Find YOUR special area of service in the church, and serve joyfully.
  37. See that future needs are provided for the family. Help plan for these needs. IRA’s, savings and retirement plans should all be reviewed and kept current for the family.
  38. Be aware of very special needs the family is saving for.  When appropriate, make contributions to this fund. Be especially sensitive to this need around Christmas time.
  39. Take your pastor and spouse on a special vacation with you. It can be the trip of a lifetime.
  40. Be open to develop a real and close relationship with the minister, spouse and family.  Don’t force it or push it and don’t expect special treatment or favors from the family because of your relationship.
  41. Check your spirit constantly to see if you are manipulative in any way in your desires for the church.
  42. Be real and honest around the pastoral family.
  43. Treat the minister’s children in a natural way.  They are real and struggling children, just as yours are or were.  Include them in activities your children are having.
  44. Keep expectations of kids in check. Don’t expect them to be theological or saintly.
  45. Just as you know the interests of the pastor and spouse, find out about those of the children.  Remember them with gifts or gestures appropriate to their likes.
  46. As much as possible, protect your pastor’s privacy.
  47. Let your pastor know when you have received a real spiritual insight or breakthrough as a result of his/her teaching or preaching.
  48. Bonuses for church growth, increase in membership, over-all income for the church, etc., are musts to keep a good minister.
  49. Attend services and classes regularly.
  50. Pray for your church, your pastor and his/her family and the staff and their families.
  51. If you are not tithing to your church, at least begin to work toward a full tithe in your giving.
  52. Look for opportunities daily to tell people about your church and what you like about it.
  53. The church should look for special occasions where they can express their love with a special offering. There are many ways the church can confirm its commitment to their pastor: birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, Easter, vacations, etc. This lets the minister know all he/she does for the church and its people hasn’t gone unnoticed and that he/she is appreciated. Make sure when you take up these special offerings that it isn’t an afterthought. It should be done enough in advance that people have time to plan for what they are going to contribute.
  54. Periodically just hand your pastor some cash or a check to bless him/her for no apparent reason at all.
  55. Besides his/her salary, the church should take care of the expenses of ministry. The minister should not have to use personal finances to do what it takes to minister. Any expenses it takes to equip the minister more effectively should be reimbursed, over and above his/her salary.
  56. If the church isn’t able to provide a car for the pastor, along with the expenses to operate the car, it should reimburse him/her mileage. The IRS has a set amount that’s allotted per mile.
  57. There are usually one or two conferences per year in most denominations and fellowships. The pastor and spouse/significant other need to attend these for their own personal enrichment, to network, to rekindle vision, for training, and accountability. This is an expense the church or ministry should take care of. It should cover registration, travel, lodging meals, and materials. If the church doesn’t have a credit card, receipts should be kept and everything that isn’t prepaid should be reimbursed.
  58. The IRS says pastors can receive housing allowance above their salary that is nontaxable. The only thing that must be paid on it is social security or self employment tax, unless they have been exempt from social security. Their house payment and many other related expenses can fall under this. The church/ministry should cover their pastor’s housing expenses above their salary.
  59. Health insurance for the minister and family is a must. The church should do its best to provide the best health care it possibly can. It should be at least as good as what the average business person has. If at all possible the insurance should also take care of prescriptions and doctor visits.
  60. Dental insurance should also be provided for the entire family. Your spiritual leader deserves no less than those who are a part of a large business or company.
  61. Life insurance should also be provided. The pastor’s family must be taken care of. There should be a substantial policy on the minister and his spouse/significant other.
  62. Some type of retirement plan should be arranged for the pastor. It can come in the form of a 401K, IRA or universal/whole life insurance plan, etc. It should be taken out in your pastor’s name and not that of the church.
  63. Ask your pastor for his/her Amazon/Digital Book wish list, and then help him/her build his/her library.
  64. Be an advocate, a friend, a fan, a prayer warrior, and an armor bearer.  Be a support for his/her spouse/significant other and kids.  And always give him/her the benefit of the doubt.
  65. Commit to stand with him/her through hard times. You know hard times and difficult times eventually come; conflict is inevitable in most places, because we are human beings. Have your minister’s back during these times.
  66. Let the pastor lead.
  67. Here’s a tough one: Support your pastor even when he/she can’t publicly explain why certain decisions or actions have been made. You need to bear in mind that pastors and leaders frequently cannot defend themselves publicly in order to protect the guilty. And professional ethics sometimes demands silence over issues that are very sensitive. If a tough decision takes place, support your pastor amid the criticism that always comes on the heels of tough decisions.
  68. Give the pastor a clever cartoon or joke that mirrors a point he/she made in a Sunday talk—just so he/she will know that you’re listening!
  69. Schedule a Sunday (well in advance) when the laypeople take the Sunday services and give your minister a long weekend away with his/her spouse/significant other (Friday ’til Monday)—arrange babysitters, too.
  70. Encourage the value of self-care for your minister. Provide opportunities for him/her to share with the group the benefits received through the self-care experiences.
  71. Perk your minister with a two-week study time at a seminary, retreat center, or spiritual site during early January or in the summer. (Research says no major corporation in existence spends less on the continued training, education, and care for their staff than does the church.)
  72. Make sure your pastor takes a one-month authentic sabbatical at least once every 3 years. No ministry. No giving. Just pure fun and self-care alone or with the family, refreshing time off to read and re-vitalize. Make sure it’s a well-earned, financed, and deserved sabbatical. This is separate from vacation time.
  73. Do a “This is Your Life” program at church one Sunday evening—don’t roast him/her, but refuel his/her spirit with testimonies and a fun time.
  74. Clean and detail his/her car during a church service one Sunday.
  75. Call and express appreciation to the pastor who started you on your spiritual pilgrimage, or who helped you at a critical time in your life. Be specific about how you were helped.
  76. Let your minister know that you appreciate the load he/she carries: the pressure of caring for the congregants, the pace of a growing ministry and the daily sacrifices he/she makes for ministry. Communicate that you understand he/she does more than just show up and preach.
  77. Churches expect their pastor to dress nicely. However, have you considered the cost of a nice suit? The church can certainly purchase a new suit for their pastor occasionally.
  78. Make a big deal out of his/her annual anniversary as minister of the church. The level of excitement can be varied each year—the goal is to demonstrate your appreciation of his/her years of service.
  79. E-mail your pastor on Tuesday and let him/her know you’re still working through your notes from Sunday.
  80. Pastors take great care and spend much effort to present and grow a beautiful local church. Speaking well of your church is a great way to encourage and honor the work your pastor’s done.
  81. Gift your pastor with “the World’s Greatest Minister” mug or T-shirt.
  82. Collect frequent flier miles and donate the miles to the couple for a splurge.
  83. Limit night meetings. Primary connection time for most relationships, pastors included, is evening. Some churches place all meetings on one evening of the week. Hold your pastor(s) to one evening for meetings, two for studies and calling, and the rest for home Do the same for your own family! Everyone wins then.
  84. Read the bulletin/church website. Many calls to the pastor could be avoided if people just read Sunday’s announcements. “Where is the youth group meeting?” “What day is the cookout?” “Is the committee meeting tonight?”
  85. Institute comp time for your minister.
  86. Simply Say “Thank You” – While blatantly obvious, sometimes weeks go by for a pastor without someone verbally saying thank you.
  87. This is an inexpensive way to show your appreciation by gathering photos and notes from members that showcase special moments in the history of your church.
  88. Record video interviews from members of the church sharing how they have been blessed by his/her ministry to them.
  89. Have the kids design and create posters with their handprints/footprints and hang them around the church in appreciation for your pastor’s spiritual guidance.
  90. This may not seem like much of a thank you, but there is no greater way to support your pastor and encourage or appreciate him/her than forming a prayer group that prays regularly for him/her and his/her family.  This can also be done as a group during a prayer meeting/breakfast or a special night of prayer involving the entire congregation.
  91. If you are in church leadership, respect the confidentiality required of your role and support your minister(s) publically.
  92. Deflect criticism on your pastor’s behalf. Your pastor likely takes a lot of heat. Some may be deserved … much of it isn’t. Instead of joining in the criticism, stand up and show your pastor some love. Help others see the good side of your pastor.
  93. Resist lighting bushfires and quit fighting among yourselves. You have a minister, not a firefighter! Some pastors spend way too much time pacifying feuds, reconciling warring factions, nursing bruised egos, and soothing petty arguments. Give the pastor a chance to enjoy a little peace and serenity!
  94. Stock the pastor’s frig with his/her favorite foods once in a while.
  95. When your minister(s) go to conferences, workshops, and retreats, make sure someone in the church volunteers to keep the children and pets.
  96. Make sure you’ve got a good, reliable church webmaster who can consistently keep the website up to date.
  97. Keep in confidence anything the minister tells you in confidence.
  98. Have a pool of “Minister’s Angels” who make it a point to take care of as much administrivia for the minister as possible on a regular basis.
  99. Provide your minister with an approved amount of discretionary funds (the amount to be determined by the Board) to spend on incidentals, goodwill gestures, community service expenditures, etc.
  100. Have someone handcraft a special stole for the minister that would be novel and spiritually meaningful.

 

exclamationpoint-blue-dt_18737841BONUS IDEA:

Ask your minister what he/she would like that would help him/her feel valued and appreciated!

 

 



Create Your Own List of Ideas:

 

                                                                                                                      

                                                                                                                      

                                                                                                                      

                                                                                                                      

                                                                                                                      

                                                                                                                      

                                                                                                                      

                                                                                                                      

                                                                                                                      

                                                                                                                      

                                                                                                                      

                                                                                                                      

 

 

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.
We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. (Albert Schweitzer)

 

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