“If the Lord sends either Shawn or Chip, your church has hit the jackpot!” –Statement from my friend Bill a year ago when our church was searching for the next pastor. (The Lord sent Chip. And now Shawn has resigned his church to become the next executive director of our state Baptist convention. We have hit the jackpot twice.)
If your pastor does these ten things, you should stop and count your blessings, friend. You have a winner.
- Your pastor prays for you. But–and here is the rub–you may not know it. He prays in his office or home, and then keeps the news to himself. But if you find out he does, you know you have a winner.
- Your pastor preaches fresh sermons every Sunday, messages he has labored over, prayed for, and prepared well. If you’ve been in church very long, you can tell when the messages are authentic and authentically his.
- Your pastor knows your name. The bigger the church, the bigger the challenge. But give him time. I’m remembering a fellow who told me his former pastor would never speak to you on the street, would pass you right up. He said, “We want a pastor who will know our names.” I didn’t have the heart to tell him the fellow his search committee was dealing with at that moment suffered from the same affliction. They called him and I guess they found it out. Personally, I think there is no excuse for a pastor not working to know the names of his flock. “The sheep hear his voice and he calls them by name” (John 10:3).
- Your pastor speaks to people in the sanctuary before the services. This personal touch says much about the heart of your minister.
- Your pastor welcomes ideas, suggestions, input. He is open and humble and eager to do a better job of ministry.
- Your pastor brags on the staff members and encourages each one in his/her ministries. He is the ultimate team player.
- Your pastor loves children and they love him.
- Your pastor is in demand to preach at all kinds of outside events, but turns most down to stay and take care of his church and his family. This is extremely rare and to be championed.
- Your pastor does the little things–like send thank you notes and birthday cards, publicly recognize faithful members of the congregation for extraordinary service, and minister to the elderly and shut-in without calling attention to it. He’s there for those who need him.
- Your pastor makes no pretense of being all things to all people, being perfect, beyond criticism, or without flaws. But he is growing. People have noticed that he is a far better man now than when he came years ago.
If your pastor rates high on this scale, suppose you wrote him a personal note to say so. And don’t forget to pray for him.