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What Your Pastor Wishes You Knew

Denise George

Stress and Deep Discouragement

A number of things can cause your pastor high stress and deep discouragement. Conflict among church members is a significant problem for many pastors. One pastor writes: "I hate the conflict and disruption in the fellowship. We've just come through yet another major conflict. I just wish our people could get along with each other."

When church members don't get along with each other, everything suffers -- worship, prayer, missions, evangelism, outreach, your congregation, and your guests who may be seeking Jesus.

Other stressful and discouraging problems pastors experience is the congregation's lack of concern and interest for the unchurched community around them and reaching others through mission work.

Pastors say:

"Leading a congregation that doesn't see the changes needed to grow is emotionally stressful."

"I wish my church members knew how frustrating it is to hear them pray and talk about the importance of outreach and mission, and then see that they're not willing to do anything about it."

"I can't seem to get my church to understand the call of Christ to reach others in the world. My church members show little interest in personal visitation to reach children for Bible study and to reach others in personal outreach."

[ How You Can Help: Encouragement]

1. Learn to recognize the signs of stress and discouragement. Support your pastor with prayer and encouragement. Reach out during stressful times and let your pastor know you're praying about the situation. Enlist your teachers and parents to also pray for your pastor.

2. Offer practical help with church-related work and responsibility when you sense your pastor needs help.

3. Celebrate your pastor's call to ministry, gifts to serve, and the hard work your pastor does for the church. Show your appreciation to your pastor.

4. Take an active interest in what your church, pastor, and denomination are doing in terms of outreach. Join and support their mission endeavors, community visitation, and events. Encourage your teachers, parents, and church members to get involved in mission work.

5. Encourage your teachers to participate in church study groups that meet regularly to study the world's various religious beliefs and to research ways to become more effective in sharing God's Word.

6. Encourage and equip your teachers to focus on John 3:16, the Great Commission, and other Scriptures that encourage outreach in Sunday school and among parent groups.

7. Work with your team to plan a "Pastor Appreciation Sunday." Ask teachers to invite your pastor into their classrooms, serve refreshments, and allow children to express their love and appreciation.

8. Find ways your children can encourage your pastor -- through high-fives, handwritten notes, and little tokens of appreciation.

9. If your pastor confides in you and expresses concerns about the church, listen carefully and keep the conversation confidential.

Your pastor is a human being -- not a Spiritual Superbeing -- who may be physically tired, spiritually depleted, stressed, and discouraged. By knowing how to minister to your pastor, you can keep your church healthy, too.

Denise George ( is author of 24 books, including What Pastors Wish Church Members Knew.

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