The Christian life is hard. Christians are called to live by a higher moral standard than the majority, to deny themselves forbidden pleasures, to be mindful of their actions, speech, and thoughts on a continuous basis. God in His wisdom saw the need to command Christians to encourage one another to remain faithful and true. Hebrews 3:12-13, “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” In this article I have a few suggestions for how to encourage your preacher. He is someone who on a daily basis is concerned about helping others find the truth and encouraging other Christians to remain faithful to God, so it is a good thing to keep in mind he gets discouraged sometimes like everyone else. This is not an exhaustive list, but just a few thoughts I’ve jotted down over the past few months.
Attend Bible Class and Worship
This should be obvious, but it is important. Your preacher spends hours upon hours every week thinking, writing, praying, outlining, and preparing to feed you spiritual food (Heb 5:13-14). What a shame it is that all the members do not at least attend whenever they can to take advantage of it. If you want to make your preacher feel encouraged, let him have the opportunity to teach you from the Word of God. After all, that is what he was called to do!
Replace “Good job”
If you do take advantage of your preacher’s lessons and sermons, I would suggest being mindful of what you say afterwards. He does not prepare and present for entertainment or for a show, he is trying to instruct and equip you to lead a more faithful life. In my experience the most common greeting at the end of my preaching is “good job”, and I know that most of the people that say that are trying to tell me how much they appreciate what was presented and thank me for my time spent in preparation. And you know what? If that is what is meant…just say that! I love hearing “I needed to hear that” or “That taught me something I hadn't thought about before”.
Think of how you introduce him
When you are introducing your preacher, do you say “This is the preacher” or do you say “This is my preacher”. That is such a subtle difference, but it will mean the world to him. He loves feeling like he belongs and you are a part of his family. I distinctly remember the first time someone introduced me as “my preacher” and then not long afterwards it became “my friend”. What a wonderful way to make him feel special.
Do not put him on a pedestal
You know all those struggles that you go through as a Christian? Guess what. You preacher goes through them too. He isn't any more holy or righteous that any other Christian, so please treat him kindly. Remember that he is human too and will sometimes falter. Forgive him like you would any other brother in Christ.
Preachers have a made-up word: “Blue Mondays”. This is the feeling we sometimes get after a hard Sunday where we may have been discouraged or let down for some reason. I know what I do during these times; I pull up encouraging emails, Facebook posts, letters, and cards to remind me that I am not alone and my family in Christ loves me. The more encouraging communication he receives, the quicker he will be back on the horse and getting back to the work of God.
Overall, these suggestions are not designed for you to feel bad for your preacher, he loves what he does. These are just some simple thoughts which may be helpful to consider the man who loves to encourage YOU!