As we said in yesterday’s post, pastors need your care. They are not above it or beyond it. Yesterday, I gave a few suggestions for members of the congregation in their care for pastors. Today I would like to offer some ideas for elders.
How Elders can care for their Pastors:
- Don’t let him get comfortable, but do help him to feel safe
- Have his back. Don’t make him stand alone in the midst of conflict–dare to be disliked.
- Grant him regular encouragement and have the needed hard conversations
- See yourself as laboring with him, instead of under or over him
- Brainstorm, vision, and pray WITH him about the future of the church
- Inquire into the finances of his family on a regular basis
- Get to know his wife and children and ask about them
- Hire additional staff before they are needed
- Encourage him to write, go to conferences, and pursue further education
- Never talk about him in a derogatory or negative way with other members of the congregation
- Monitor his relationships with the rest of the staff
- Appoint an elder and wife to meet regularly with the Pastor and his wife for encouragement and accountability. They should also help them wrestle through his schedule, family issues, needs, and celebrate joys.
- Make sure your pastor takes a day off. Hold him accountable
- Give him at least one week of Study Leave a year. You may think this is yet another week your pastor is away from the congregation, but it can be one of the greatest blessings to your congregation. He will return having been stimulated, challenged, and encouraged. Besides it is an inexpensive way to bless him!
- Grant him adequate vacation time and require that he take it
- Assign an elder or staff person to help with administrative tasks. Administration can steal too much of a pastor’s time–time that could be spent in much more valuable ways. It is also an area that pastors can get lost in, discouraged by, and even seek to hide in.
- Ensure that the congregation understands his main tasks are prayer, study, and preaching. Most individuals in the church will have different expectations. If that is the case–change them.
- Regularly encourage him that you value the time he spends praying, studying, and preaching–ask for fewer policies, spreadsheets, and even visitations.
- Ask what he is studying and praying about
- Help him discern what his “pastoral duties” include and what they do not include in this local church–he can’t do everything.
- Ask penetrating questions about his prayer life
- Give him an adequate book budget
- Lean towards saying “yes” to his ideas, vision, and dreams, but be willing and courageous enough to say “no.”
Again, please suggest further ways that you have found helpful in the comments. The list should be long.