Pastors and Wives Share Your Burdens With Your Staff

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Today’s post is for those who are pastors and pastors’ wives… in my heart of hearts  I pray that this will be taken in the spirit of encouragement.

If you can name it and it has something to do with the church and its’ members then it can be a stress in the life of you and your family.  Any type of stressor can become a burden when you are unsure of how to deal with something…  or you are waiting in prayer for God to give you an answer so you can move on in faith. Church life definitely can come with baggage — that type of baggage that makes you want to stay in bed on church days  or hide in your office as service times begin. It is not uncommon for unwanted circumstances to come at you in waves and for you to feel inadequately prepared to deal with them in wisdom and a right spirit.

If I could have a heart-to-heart with pastors and their wives about church staff and faithful church workers I would say this: “Friends, don’t bear your burdens alone.” And then I would gently say, “Don’t discount your staff as being people who will not understand your burdens.”

Hey, I know I’ve never been a pastor’s wife (yet) and you can come up with an excuse on the reasons why you hoard burdens upon your shoulders, but please allow me to explain…

We have served beside others or communicated with peers and have seen people we loved keep us from comforting them. We could discern that the weight of the daily in’s and out’s of ministry were bogging them down and causing the spark in their eyes to dim to a depressive state of mind. Yet, for some reason when God brought us as comforters to their door with hands empty and ready to carry some of their load, they slammed the door on us. This left two families with burdened hearts (theirs and ours) instead of a common bond of brother/sisterhood and unity from sharing the weight in their hearts.

Allow God to send comforters to you,  who will be a blessing. 

Never assume that the only ministry family that is suffering and bearing the load of life and ministry is the pastor’s family. If you have church staff or you have laymen that are whole-heartedly invested in your ministry then they also carry the burdens of ministry and responsibility of meeting the needs of people on their shoulders. Sin in church members affects them and their hearts too, it can consume their thoughts and prayers also.

Others may never know the degree of weight you carry because the accountability of the pastor is greater, but remember responsibilities weigh on each person’s life. A burden is a burden. They may not know all the details of counseling sessions or the diligence required to do all things decently and in order while ministering as a shepherd (or shepherd’s wife). Do not minimize their heart’s burdens as insignificant in comparison especially when their burdens are linked to the same church family as yours.

The hands of ministry workers, staff, and volunteers are tied when you separate yourself in a class all of your own and elevate yourself to some level of never being understood because of a position. One person or couple should not be bearing all the burden alone. We are meant to bear one another’s burdens because it fulfills the law of Christ. Christ  took all sin of the world upon Himself as He died in our place, He understands the concept of bearing the burdens of others.

Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

Church staff in specific situations can often bear a harder burden because of the pressure that is applied from the expectations of the pastor believing they will never understand. They may want to understand, and see how it burdens the pastor. They can recognize how sin puts a blanket on each ministry that is effected by imperfect choices. Do not discount them from being a source of help and encouragement! Most people are capable of genuinely being able to be compassionate in heart toward you. They can understand the behind the scenes knowledge that comes along with being closely involved in the work of the church and respect the need for keeping them in confidence.

“But, what if!?”

Part of bearing one another’s burdens is being humble enough to share. One worry is whether we are sharing our heart’s contents with those who are trustworthy and that is a legitimate concern.  Time can only tell you if you can trust someone. Keeping burdens upon our shoulders because of fearing what other people may say or do (without giving them a chance) is just that, fear. “What if they tell other church members what we’ve talked about?” It is always wise to use discretion in specific matters and to keep information private if it is required.

I feel like I have to make disclaimers all the time because in this world we live in. This message will not fit with every pastor/pastor’s wife and church staff situation out there. There are pastors and their wives who will continue to bear their burdens. There are staff members who will still struggle to feel as if they cannot connect with their pastor/pastor’s wife. Above all, do as the hymn by Charles Tindley  states, “Leave it there, leave it there. Take your burdens to the Lord and leave them there. If you trust and never doubt, He will surely bring you out. Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.”  God is our greatest burden-bearer. No amount of troubles overwhelm Him when we cast those cares upon His shoulders.

Some of you will try to share their burdens with their staff and might be misunderstood or your “fears” may come true when a staff member unwisely shares your information with other people. For those situations I am truly sorry. You might be robbed of a blessing and I would suggest this: Keep praying. Be sensitive enough to share those burdens with someone you are close to so they can help you bear them (ministry friend, family member, etc.). Then, when the time is right and the Holy Spirit gives you a nudge, take a risk again somewhere in the future and share a burden. Share your prayer request, visions for the future of your church/ministries with your staff, and allow them to see the human part of your spirituality that needs God’s guidance.

Taking a risk here and there is part of the growing process. You may just find that your church staff will do exactly what you need and help carry that load and strengthen you in the process. Remember: You found beneficial qualities in their lives or you would not have hired them! The possibility of sharing these matters may allow you to see God work in His mysterious ways to take care of these burdens… we never know what God will do when we join together in prayer for the problems going on in our church. We may actually see victories against sin, repair in relationships, and spiritual growth but the benefit is that they are shared victories and growth instead of just personal.

Eliminate some of your stress by casting your cares upon the Lord and having enough confidence in your staff to be able to share matters that are on your heart. You need it, they need it, and Lord willing, growth will happen in the process. Your work and ministry is valuable, don’t bog yourself down if you can let others walk and work with you.

 

 

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Honoring Your Pastor: Honorary Gift Idea List

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This gift idea list is for when you want to do something really special for your pastor. 23 ideas are listed below to help make honoring your pastor a piece of cake! Some of these ideas will take some time and effort but I assure you that it will be well worth the effort you take, if you give generously.

For God loveth a cheerful giver! II Corinthians 9:7b

Show Your Pastor and His Wife You Love Them Every Year

I encourage you to honor them yearly! Know the date in which they came to serve in your church for the first Sunday and even if you do not make a big deal about it every year, it should be recognized and they should be given a token of the church’s appreciation. Their service to you and your church is not only a benefit, it is their calling and it is their work in obedience to the Lord.

Special Times of Recognition

There are extra special times to recognize your pastor and his service. It is not any different from a married couple, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30+ years of serving either in ministry itself or in the ministry of your church in particular. Even when your pastor was a scrawny youth pastor in the dark ages of ministry, it was still service that adds up through the years. Our pastor has served in our church over 30 years now but his total number of ministry years has been over 40. I know when my great-grandfather had served over 50 years in ministry someone arranged for him to receive an honorary doctorate. There may also be other times when you recognize his leadership over completing something like a large building project or recognize his faithfulness through a particularly difficult time in his life or the church’s life.

Honorary Gift Idea List

  • Plaque – don’t get a boring one, find a nice one! We bought an etched blue glass plaque for our pastor that stands on his shelf like the one seen here.
  • Office renovation – does he still have dated wallpaper in his office? Update! It does not have to be a surprise, let him be involved in making changes he likes.
  • New pulpit
  • A Banquet in honor of him and his wife – even if you can’t afford a nice venue, you can still do something great at your church facilities with a little creativity.
  • A church-wide photo taken outside your church and framed – hire someone or use a nice camera propped on top of a church van like we did to get a nice group photo.
  • An updated computer with Bible software – I have heard good things about Logos software if your pastor likes to use the computer for sermon preparation.
  • Memory photo books of the church history and church events. Use someone in your church to scan and organize old church photos into folders on the church computer, then download them onto a website that makes photo books and it will be so much easier to look at them. If you make a copy for your church, get a copy for the pastor and his family too. I recommend Shutterfly because they have great customer service.
  • Video testimonies shown in church services and saved on a DVD for them to watch at their leisure. Videos should be taken weeks in advance so that someone can compile your videos.
  • A special preaching revival in their honor – it might be neat to use their favorite preacher or bring in someone who is significant to them and their ministry.
  • A quilt with pieces provided or signed by the church members and sewn together by ladies in your church to complete the quilt. Okay, so maybe your pastor’s wife would like this more than your pastor would… 🙂
  • Car upgrade – Is your pastor driving a heap of junk? If your church can afford it, it may be a benefit to give him an upgraded vehicle or some money toward a new one.
  • Vacation time with accommodations and spending money provided – if you give them the trip, make sure they go and enjoy it!
  • Engraved pieces from a company like Things Remembered.
  • A new Bible with favorite verses highlighted by the members of the church.
  • A memory or thanks jar filled with slips of paper with memories written on them from members of the church or little messages of thanks.
  • A Staff Take-Over Night – A church in Arizona did this to their pastor, taking over the service, bringing out a recliner into the middle aisle, giving their pastor a “night off,” then their assistant pastor preached a message encouraging their pastor. Just make sure that this type of thing would be okay with your pastor, some personalities might not like it.
  • Bring in a special music group for a Sunday – be sure that the group is someone your pastor likes and the music conforms to your church standards of music. You could also have your choir or a singing group in your song sing a song like, Stand By God’s Man, written by Julia Montoro.
  • A gift card tree – these are always a blessing to help your pastor in a fun way.
  • A love offering – this love offering should be a sincere expression of love, not a cheap token, but may quite be a sacrifice of love from the members. Remember, that your pastor and his family has sacrificed a lot of time and effort on the church’s behalf.
  • New household appliances. Has it been years since he and his wife have been able to buy a new refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher, stove, or grill? It would be a pleasant surprise to them to get an upgrade.
  • Contact your local newspaper. They may be interested in running an article on your pastor in the religious section if he has served in the community for a long time. This would be a special way of honoring his dedication and faithfulness.
  • Finally, listen and learn to what his needs or desires are. If they’re in the budget, then give him the desires of his heart!

On the Ministry Mamas Pinterest Pastor Appreciation page there are over 70 pins of all types of ideas for gifts, cakes, and even gift basket to show appreciation toward your pastor.

*Please note that this article does not contain affiliate links. I love to help you find great things easily, that’s all!

Other articles in this series are:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHonoring Your Pastor: Personal Gifts of Investment

Honoring Pastor - Free GiftsHonoring Your Pastor: Free Gifts to Give

 

Honoring Your Pastor: Free Gifts To Give

Pastors… they are a unique breed of men that have a special calling of God on their life. Not two of them are alike. Their preferences, passions, styles, and even their humanity and mistakes are all combined into one. They are not unlike any other person, just in a different position, to shepherd the sheep of God’s flock in the local church. Our pastor always says that he wants to stand before God one day and say “So & So was a good sheep.” Most pastors will say that they want to stand before God and hear Him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

I’ve heard it said that the pastor has a heavy responsibility because unlike the man of a household having the accountability of his family, the pastor is responsible and accountable for every family in the church he pastors. What a pressure on their heart, soul, and daily living.

On top of that they have the duty to preach the entire counsel of God, whether it is popular or not. A godly pastor will labor in the Word to study, pray and allow God to work in his heart first, so he can execute his sermon with clarity. He desires to clearly present the gospel to the unsaved and feed the people of God at the same time.

Choosing to honor your pastor with gifts is a loving way to show him your appreciation to your church or your family for his service. Not every gift you can give your pastor has to cost you a dime, just demonstration of Christian character.

Honoring Pastor - Free Gifts

The Gift of Spoken Word

  • A Word of EncouragementA word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. Proverbs 25:11 I’m not talking about buttering your pastor up with flattery, we’re talking about real words from a righteous heart that will help him when he is discouraged. Affirm the value of the preaching He has provided and tell him specific ways in which God has spoken to you through his messages. These type of words are as much of a blessing as a beautiful painting he could hang in his office.
  • A Good ReportThe light of the eyes rejoiceth the heart: and a good report maketh the bones fat. Proverbs 15:30 Want to fatten up your pastor’s heart? Then you give him a good report about your family and the Lord’s work in your life! Don’t just rain your problems down on him, although I’m sure that he’ll listen, tell him about the good and the funny stuff too!

The Gift of Prayer

Are you willing to use your time to go to spiritual battle for your pastor and his needs?

We’re not talking about simple little prayers, we’re talking about heartfelt cries to God for:

  • His protection spiritually and morally
  • Wisdom for him to see the way of escape during the temptations he faces each day
  • Understanding during his Bible reading and Bible study
  • Ability to have discernment in spiritual matters
  • Love and care for the flock God has given to Him
  • Ability to preach with zeal and genuine love
  • To go home and be the husband and father God has called him to rule well

Many stressors would be taken from your pastor’s shoulders if you would bow the knee and do more asking of God to help him in the serious warfare of being His disciple than a watered down “Please bless him” or “thank you for him.”

You may not agree, but I would bet (if I were the betting type, ha) that if you have been a member of your church for any length of time and maintained a communication line between you and your pastor, that he has spent some time in prayer for your spiritual needs. Go ahead and return the favor! This will be one of the greatest gifts you can ever give him.

The Gift of Public Support

  • At Home – Did you know that even though you think you’re in the privacy of your own home, that you’re actually in public? Yep, each time you talk about your pastor in front of your immediate and extended family there’s a little feeling that goes into their heart about him. When you complain and gripe then a negative feeling goes into their heart. If you compliment and follow his leadership verbally then a good feeling goes into their heart. Publicly show your family that you love your pastor and he will become someone who they will learn to trust and support themselves.
  • At Church – Gossip bash sessions happen every week in every service at your church. There’s always a disgruntled church member sitting somewhere in the service ready to air out their opinions. When complaints come your way nip it in the bud! Yes, your pastor has problems in his life with some type of area that deals with people, and so do you. Please be wise to support his efforts to follow God when others try to throw him under the bus. AND, you can even offer to go with that person to see the pastor and deal with those issues. See what happens when you do that… it usually will stop right there.
  • And Abroad – Want to know a sure-fire way to have people interested in attending your church? You tell them about what you love about your church and the ways in which you enjoy your pastor. When people see that you trust your pastor in a world when it seems that even churches cannot be trusted, they will be more open to consider visiting your church and hearing what he has to preach about. You probably guessed that the sure-fire way to get people to never darken the doors of your church is to complain and murmur about the latest problem you have had with your pastor. Why would they want to attend a service where you hate your pastor?

I know, I know, I know… all pastors are not lovely all the time. I’m not asking you to lie about your pastor, to paint up the truth if you’re really going through a hard time in your church. I’m asking you to reverence his position, to put some of these free gift ideas into practice and see if they won’t allow you to be a better blessing to your pastor. You might even be blessed in return and see prayers answered on his behalf and attitudes of children changed toward church because you’ve decided to support him publicly at home.

Some people say that best gifts in life are free, and well, I think that applies specifically to many of these principles, because…

When you exercise good Christian character and spiritual investment in someone else, then you’re sure to reap the rewards of giving honor to whom honor is due!