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 I do not publish them to boast but with the sincere hope that some churches and Christians will find creative ways to express appreciation to the men who serve as their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.