“Do You Want to Keep Your Preacher?”

» Posted by on Dec 21, 2012 | 11 comments

“Do You Want to Keep Your Preacher?”

As I begin this post it must be done with a disclaimer. I have been a full time preaching minister for thirty-two years.  I have been preaching now for nearly forty years. I have been a part of a preaching family all of my life. My family has always been taken well care of during these years.

I am not writing this article because of anything I need or as a hint to my current congregation. Allow me to be blunt. The fact is if I could write this without my elders or the members of the Lewisville church reading it I would. You folks who are a part of the Lewisville church are some of the kindest and most generous people on the face of the earth.

I am writing it because I know too many preachers who have not been blessed in the numerous ways that my family has been blessed.  I am writing to encourage elders and churches to rethink how they show appreciation to their ministers.

Some of the thoughts I will share in this post have happened to me personally. I do not publish them to boast but with the sincere hope that some churches and Christians will find creative ways to express appreciation to the men who serve as their ministers.

I believe that many churches love their preachers but have never been taught how to show that love to them. My sincere prayer is that this article will be helpful and that it will be received in the spirit in which it is being written.

Oh, and one more disclaimer. This article only applies if you really want to keep your preacher. If you don’t want to keep him there is no need for you to pay attention to this article.

Tell him you appreciate his preaching. You can tell him face to face. You can send him a note.  I have in my files notes of encouragement that have come from church leaders and church members through the years. They are some of my most prized possessions.  These days you can send emails, text messages, Face book messages, etc. There are many great ways to say I am thankful for you.

Tell him you appreciate his work. When a minister does something special for your family let him know how much you appreciate it. Most ministers will serve whether they receive appreciation for it or not. However, it will strengthen your minister greatly if he knows you appreciate it when he has done something special for you or your family.

Show your preacher’s family you appreciate them. Do your best to provide for the needs of the preacher’s family. Try to refrain from making the preacher’s family live in a glass house. Give the preacher’s family the opportunity to fit in and be a part of the congregation.

Let your preacher know you are praying for him. Most church members I know pray regularly for their ministers as well as their minister’s family. It will be a great source of strength if you tell him/them personally that prayers are being offered.

Show your preacher you appreciate him. This is really not about money or things. It is about showing appreciation. It is about recognizing the ministers who are doing a good job.

One church I know about gives each of their ministers an end of the year bonus. It is based upon years of service and there are incremental increases the longer a minister works with the church.

Another church I know about called the four ministers in this year at the end of the year and presented each of them with a new iPad and told them that they would received a five percent increase in their salary. Now that’s concrete evidence that says we are thankful for you and we want you to stay with us for a long time.

Other churches have given their preachers an extra week of vacation, a sabbatical, or some additional time off just to spend relaxing with his family. One church I know about sent him and his wife on a cruise. Another church years ago gave their preacher a new car.

There are numerous ways you can show appreciation to your minister. Buy him a book, pay for some of his gas for all the visits and calls he makes. Take him and his family out for a meal or just hand them a gift card for their favorite restaurant.

As long as I live I’ll never forget the family who bought me a suit one time because I had ministered to their family.  It was a suit that I could have never purchased for myself.

When I was a very young preacher a family called me to their home and said we want you to know how much we appreciate what you have done for us. We would like to pay for you to go to the Holy Lands. That trip changed by life and made me a better preacher. I will forever be thankful for this wonderful family.

I’m not saying that every church can or even should follow these exact suggestions. I’m just encouraging you to do something to let your ministers know you appreciate them.

Some churches take the approach that we pay our ministers well so we don’t need to give them bonuses, raises, and gifts of appreciation. I would argue that you better if you want the to feel appreciated and wanted.

Another benefit of showing appreciation to your ministers is they will work even harder. Even the most self-motivated people will be motivated more when they feel wanted and appreciated.

The elders or leaders of the church are the only ones who can carry out some of these suggestions. However the suggestions about words and notes of appreciation are something that anyone can do.

Most preachers I know would never express these kinds of thoughts to their elders or the church for fear that they will be looked upon as seeking the wrong kind of praise as well as being considered money-hungry.  Most preachers I know would do what they do even if they never received any appreciation.

While it may be that there are a few who do seek the wrong kind of praise and are money-hungry my conviction is that this is not true of the large majority of preachers.

Preachers are human. They have frailties in their lives. They need encouragement and they need to be appreciated like every other person in the world. And just in case anyone thinks we are being too easy on preachers, wait for the article to preachers about “Do You Want to Keep Your Job?!!”

I hope that church leaders as well as all church members who read this will make the effort to let your preacher know how much you appreciate him. And I hope you will do it soon.

Holy Father, we thank you for the opportunity to be a part of Your Church. We are thankful for every person who is a part of the Body of Christ. Help us, dear God to show one another how much we appreciate each other. Help us to allow the light and the love of Jesus to be seen through us. In His Wonderful Name we pray, Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

11 Comments

  1. Amen Brother!!!

  2. Very well stated. I’m not sure most people really understand how many “hours per week” their minister works. I know that you preach because God has placed a fire in you to do so, not for “perks” and a lack of “perks” wouldn’t stop you. The Lewisville congregation is blessed to have you and I’m glad they show appreciation to you and your family.

  3. My suggestion would be for elders and other influential church leaders to go out to lunch with your minister on a regular basis–not to talk church business or about programs, but just to check how everyone is doing spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Elders, if you talk to your preacher on a regular basis about anything and everything (and you’re honest and transparent with him about your own life), then it doesn’t feel like he’s being “called into the principal’s office” when you tell him, “we need to talk.”

  4. Thank you for this article. It reminded me of how blessed I have been from time to time by great Christian people.

    I am looking forward to the next article about keeping your job. I hope it will motivate me to be a better preacher and servant. God bless.

  5. I think church leaders should make that extra time to get to know the minister
    On a personal basis and ask the minister about his work, and his family. Sometimes all it takes is desire and effort.

  6. Some churches cannot afford to increase monetary remuneration. HOWEVER, even the most financially strapped congregations often has the means to do somethings. 1. Make the effort to understand Tax Law as it pertains to preachers, and help him to understand how deductions and allowances work, and encourage him to use them. 2. If you are short-changing the local preacher to feel good about missionary contributions, some priorities need to be examined. 3. It rarely costs much if any to provide preachers a reasonably sized office. Nice furnishings can often be found in moving sales — but please, no broken down junk. 4. Since a preacher is on call 24 hours a day, anything less than 4 weeks vacation a year leans very hard on his STRESS button. You may want to restrict taking the vacation to 2 weeks (and 3 Sundays), with the other 2 weeks staggered thru the year, perhaps with the church financing a trip one of those weeks to a Quality Lectureship every other year. 5. A day and a half off each week costs nothing, but really invests in the preachers health and attitude. ….. Best wishes.

  7. I have always preached in the North (Michigan, Ohio and Indiana). Each congregation was in debt for a church building. Each one seemed to have struggles as most do. They were great works but limited funds were available most of the time. As a result the benefit packages were basically non-existent. It would range from salary, a house furnished, vacation time and that was it. I have struggled trying to provide health insurance for the family – most of the time without it. No retirement plan was ever suggested as part of a pay package. There was never an offer to help with even part of the social security. I have been preaching since 1970 and find myself facing retirement with nothing but social security (I am thankful that I never opted out even though I tried). The housing that I had was always the church’s so no equity. Salary was low and continues that way today as well. I am thankful for every year in serving the Lord. But it is really hard to make ends meet sort of speak. I do not be-grudge a moment, but I am so very concerned about my retirement. I love the Lord, His church, and the brethren. I have a home waiting in heaven for me. So I am blessed. If I could do it over again, I would do the same, but try (totally on my own I guess) to be a little more prepared for the physical aspects of retirement. The preachers of today have been blessed with better paying positions with better benefits for which I am thankful. It is too late for me but that is ok too. I am not complaining, just thought I would write from a little different perspective. God bless all of His working servants in the Lord’s church.

    • Gal 6:6, 10 would seem to apply to many situations. Unfortunately, most preachers dare not apply this to themselves in the pulpit.

  8. Jeff,

    I write this as an encouragement to what you believe to be the needs of a preacher. Jesus built the Church and sometimes preachers live in a greenhouse effect and not like most of the brethren live.

    You will probably want to pass this off, but your concern for the church of our Lord is of no more concern for you than it is for the brethren.

    This is just another pointing out of things that brethren fail to do for the preacher.

    One, these are the things I have noticed the brethren seem to do when the preaching is edifying and not just another 20 minute filler of shallow preaching, jokes or warmed over lessons.

    Second, Tell the preacher you appreciate their work. They do when preacher are about the Lord’s work rather than spending time promoting themself to be known by the brotherhood and to be on the preaching circuit. Most brthren don’t know what the work of a preacher is according to scripture and for good reason because they have not been taught and they fail to see it manifested in the preacher life. Preach the word, do what James says is pure and undefiles religion.

    Third, Show the preacher family you appreciate them. Most are when they are allowed to be approached and encouraged. All families need to be appreciated.

    Fourth, Pray for your preacher. This is easy to do since they need much prayer and the need for discerment, wisdom to be strong in the word and consistent in their lifestyle. I pray they will practice what they preach and be in love with the Christ more than the things they get from preaching about Christ.

    The picture of you and your wife doesn’t seem to reflect you have gone without since you began preaching, have you?”

    Look at your calling and ask how much have you given in term of material gifts not just speaking about lessons. Have you ever gone without to send a family to the Holy Land, a crusie, gift cards, a car, when was the last time you have taken people to lunch and picked up the tab, without getting reimburesed. Maybe given the brethren a bonuse for coming each time and working and listening to you preach.

    You sound like a man that has lost focus and can easy see the faults of the brethren but are blind to your own short coming. May a checkup from the heart up with the word of God might help.

    If we loose preachers it maybe because preachers are setting the standards for why we are loosing brethren. Like the prophet of old said, “Like priest, like people.”

    May you should write an article entiled, “Do you want to loose your congregation.” The same things would apply for them also, they came to be saved and grown in the likeness of Christ and have the same needs in the body.

    I would suggest you focus on the brethren who the Lord added to the church and mature them in the ways of the Lord. The money and material won’t be the issue. Our Father has taken care of all of us before and will continue until He takes us home to glory.

    If you are tired of what the Lord promised for his people then maybe it’s time to remember the reason you entered into the ministry. You stated , Preacher are human. I think we who are reading and listening know that we are “all human by now” and “we are not perfect and we know that also.”

    Please serve and be about the Lords work and use the pulpit for the purpose God granted it. Edify, encourage , admonish, and all the One another passages. Preach Christ!!

    In Christ and out of love,

    Paul

  9. Thanks so much for your encouragement and lessons online. I appreciate your writing talents. I do not know you, but I read your work weekly. I am grateful for this article. I sometimes forget those simple actions of thinking about our ministers.
    Wow!! I felt compelled to write because of “Paul’s” strong comments. How can a man judge the heart? Your article was helpful and needful. I am glad you are doing what you are doing. Praise God for Ministers!! I work in surgery & take call after hours. It is very difficult to be “on call” as much as ministers are. I have cherished memories of prayers & visits during family sickness from those who preach God’s word. Keep up the good work. I did not see your blog as a personal plea, but as a reminder for us to remember those who serve in the ministry. Thanks for the reminder. Romans 10:14-15

  10. Thank you, Jeff, for providing this good insight into ways Church leaders can better show appreciation for our ministerial staffs. As always, I so appreciate your thoughtful and Godly approach in sharing this. May God continue to richly bless your efforts in all things.

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