How To Encourage Your Pastor This Summer

How to Encourage Your Pastor This Summer

Steve Burchett

Attendance, and unfortunately enthusiasm, is significantly lacking in most local churches during the summer months. Vacations, reunions, camps, and other activities take people out of town, leaving even the main worship service of the week with gaps in the pews wider than a dump truck. A pastor typically prepares for this, yet he still might become significantly discouraged.

Have you considered the possibility that you could be a great encouragement to your pastor this summer? Consider these four ways to bring him joy:

  • Engage the preaching better than you ever have before.
    In the first church where I was the main preacher, I can remember several Sundays during the summer months when at least half of the regular congregation was gone. The atmosphere was far from “electric.” Nevertheless, I had a responsibility to “preach the word . . . in season and out of season.” I was bound to “reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2).During those summer months, the Lord used certain individuals, and their hunger for Scripture, to keep me positive. In my mind’s eye, I can still see a lady named Mary Jane captivated by the teaching of the Bible. I can still hear a gentleman named Jeff, after the service, asking insightful questions about the biblical text. Their love for the Bible was a great strength.For your pastor’s joy, you could make an extra effort to eagerly listen to, discuss, and then live out what is preached this summer.
  • Increase your giving through the summer months.
    Summertime is often a fiscally lean stretch for a local church. In a “perfect” church, the members would compensate for their absences (for example, giving twice as much if they missed the previous Sunday), but this is rarely the case. The financial crunch that ensues can become a major stress in the life of a pastor, especially if the church has a building that requires regular upkeep, or a monthly rent payment. Plans and dreams for the church might have to be delayed because of the shortfall.How might you be an encouragement in this area? Imagine this scenario: Ten families in your church each determine to give an extra ten dollars a week for the summer months (approximately 12 weeks). By the end of the summer, each family will have given $120 more than normal. When you multiply that by ten families, you get $1200. Though that may not seem like much money to a large church, most of us are part of smaller churches where even $100 is appreciated. Imagine the joy the Lord might bring to your pastor and church if many of you are cheerful givers this summer! (cf. 2 Corinthians 9:7)
  • Attend the typically smaller Bible study and/or prayer meeting.
    Unfortunately in most churches, the meetings other than the main service are significantly less attended throughout the year, and this problem is magnified in the summertime. You might be tempted to skip some of these meetings this summer because, you say to yourself, “How enjoyable will it be if only a few people come?”But think about this: Those meetings will potentially be even less pleasurable if you are not there. Determine to go, participate, and speak words that are “good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear,” including your pastor (Ephesians 4:29).
  • Pray for your pastor, and tell him about your prayers.
    Pray in light of certain truths in Scripture, such as Psalm 147:5, “Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite.” Pray also with God’s promises in mind, like Romans 8:31-32, “What then shall we say? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” Regularly share with your pastor about what you have been praying, even sharing key verses with him.Similarly, call upon the Lord regarding the unique challenges that summer brings. For example, pray that when your pastor preaches to a half-full congregation, he would still “preach the word” in view of the coming judgment (2 Timothy 4:1-2). And then a Monday morning e-mail to your pastor about how the Lord answered your prayers for his preaching would be treasured immensely.

“But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work.” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13)

Copyright � 2008 Steve Burchett. Permission granted for reproduction in exact form. All other uses require written permission

How Should Christians Vacation?

Since summer is upon us and families are planning for vacation, I want to offer few words on how Christians should vacation. I am not writing this subject as an expert, but rather, as a person who has failed and learned what to do and what not do from numerous past vacations. I’m even writing this from my present vacationing in California. The following is not of any particular order of importance.

What Not To Do:

  1. Try not to fly out on the weekend and Monday since it’s more expensive than let’s say Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. This is also true of hotels and other types of lodging.
  2. Don’t think that no one is watching what you’re doing. Vacation is not a license to sin. Though you have removed yourself and your family from your town of residence, God goes wherever you go and sees whatever you do and say. In other words, don’t loose God-consciousness.
  3. Don’t try to squeeze too many activities in one day. Give some time to enjoy each activity – even if it means to slow down or stop to look and smell flowers. After all, you are on your vacation, not meeting deadlines every day. Men, because we are task-oriented creatures, we need to work on this. Learn to slow down, chill out, and enjoy.

What To Do:

  1. Locate a good Bible-preaching-church nearby your destination to attend on Lord’s day. Though it is vacation, you should not vacation from gathering with God’s people on Lord’s day. This would speak volume to your children. If this is impossible due to where you would be, then sanctify your time for family worship on Lord’s day as you would normally do at a church service – e.g., singing, praying, giving offering, Scripture reading, and giving a homily or listening to one.
  2. Plan your schedule ahead, and be realistic about it. And give ample time for your activities (see #3 of “What Not To Do”).
  3. Set your budget and stick to it. Whether you’re the type of family that uses “cash in the envelop” system or credit card system with strict accounting, stick to your budget.
  4. Plan to listen to several sermons whether via ipods or what have you. I can assure you it would be time well used whether flying or driving long distance.
  5. Have good books. It is always a good idea to travel with wonderful company of notable/godly men and/or women. My advice would be to take some short reading books than several thick encyclopedia looking books. This way, you can actually and realistically finish at least one or two books, and walk away feeling a sense of accomplishment.
  6. Talk. This is one of the benefits of distant driving. Instead of blasting car radio you and your spouse can utilize such occasion for communication.
  7. Try something different or new like the food that you normally don’t eat. This way, you would either really appreciate what you normally do eat or realize what you’ve been missing. Remember, different does not mean it is bad; it is just different. You’d be amazed how many different types of sushi rolls I had. It’s all good.
  8. Try to include at least one educational event (and I don’t mean eating something educational) such as visiting a museum, science center, famous library, or local historical site.
  9. Be open to evangelistic opportunities. When vacationing you meet all sorts of different people from different places. Make Christ known. Share the gospel. If possible, exchange contact info (but be wise) so that you can follow-up.
  10. Whatever you do, do all for the glory of God.

If you have other helpful suggestions that you’d like to pass along to the readers of this site, feel free to leave comments.