Let me preface this post with this caveat: I pastored two churches during my 14 years of full-time pastoral ministry, and both churches were great congregations. At the same time, though, I and most other pastors still wish for more from laypeople. Based on my years of interviews with church leaders, here are some of those wishes.
- Pray regularly for me. I know you pray for me when I ask for it, and I admit I typically ask only when there’s a problem (or, to be honest, sometimes I don’t ask at all). I take responsibility for that omission, but I still want to know you pray for me anyway.
- Ask how you can serve. Sometimes our churches don’t do a great job of recruiting, but we know God wants you to be a part of the Body of Christ. Let me know of your willingness to serve somewhere.
- Give more sacrificially. Most of us don’t like to preach about money, but we know the Bible calls us to give for His work. Your sacrificial giving helps us do that work – and, frankly, helps relieve my leadership burden about the church paying the bills.
- Let my family be who they are. My wife may not always be the piano player or the missions leader, but she is the person God gave me as a helpmate. My kids are just that – kids – so please don’t hold them to higher expectations than other kids.
- Tell others your gospel story. I commit to you that I’ll share the good news of Jesus whenever I preach the Word. But, I need your help if we’re going to reach our community. Even if you don’t feel equipped to do evangelism, you can tell other people what Jesus means to you.
- Be honest if you’ve never been discipled. I know that your story might be like mine: nobody really invested in you when you first followed Jesus. You want to serve Him fully, but no one has ever walked with you to help you get there. I want to help you, but I need to know where you really are today.
- Talk with me rather than talk to others about me. Not only is it biblical to talk to a brother first when trying to resolve conflict, but it’s also the case that a simple conversation can often settle an issue. A small flicker doesn’t have to become a big flame.
- Trust my heart when you disagree with my decisions. To be frank, I grant that some pastors have proven their heart is not where it should be – so I really do understand why you might be reticent here. At the same time, if you trust my heart overall, keep trusting me when we differ. Tell me your concerns, but do so as a brother or sister who loves me.
What other thoughts would you add?