By Thom Rainer
I love pastors and church staff. I think their vocation is incredibly tough. In fact, it is impossible without God’s strength and comfort.
As we reflect this Christmas Eve on the blessing of our Savior’s birth, let us also reflect on the blessings of the pastors and other church staff who serve us, who care for us, and who love us.
May I be so bold and presumptuous to suggest some Christmas gifts you can give those who serve in your church? They have no financial cost, but their value is inestimable.
- Tell your pastors you pray for them. And let them know you do so because you find joy in praying for them and loving them.
- Give your pastors some words of encouragement. They have plenty of self-appointed critics. You can be one of the “other group.”
- If your pastor has children at home, offer childcare. Be specific. Tell your pastor that you want to look after the kids on three specific dates, and that you expect to receive those dates to put them on the calendar.
- Send your pastor a handwritten note. The computer keyboard has almost made handwritten notes extinct. So those who do receive them treasure them. Send your pastor a treasure.
- Speak positively about the pastor to one of the critics. You likely know one of the perpetual naysayers every pastor has. Go to him or her and say something like, “I just love our pastor. The church is blessed with such godly leadership.” You may actually silence the critic for a brief season.
- Note three specific positive things to your pastor and church staff. While this item is certainly in the category of encouragement, this suggestion is for specificity. For example you may tell the children’s minister that you love her smile that puts the kids at ease, that you appreciate the long hours she works, and how much your own kids benefit from her ministry.
- Say a compliment to pastors about their family. One of the greatest gifts you can give a pastor or church staff member is to say something positive about his or her family. The families of pastors often feel like they live in a glass house. It is incredibly affirming to these families when church members see good things in the glass house.
Pastors and church staff members: Thank you for your ministries. Thank you for your families. Thank you for your faithfulness. And thank you for taking care of the rest of us.
And to all of you who read this blog: Thank you. I am humbled that you spend a few minutes here from time to time. Merry Christmas to all of you. Thank you for letting the Christ of Christmas shine through you.
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This article was originally published at ThomRainer.com on December 24, 2014. Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and ten grandchildren. Dr. Rainer can be found on Twitter @ThomRainer and at facebook.com/Thom.S.Rainer.