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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Ministers, Clergy, The Church and It's People

The church has been part of my entire life and as the daughter of a pastor, I have a insider-view of the many facets of ministry life.  I've witnessed the midnight calls, visited hospital newborns and graveside widows.  I have glowed to hear the impact of presence more often than the words of a sermon.  I have cringed and wept to hear criticism without consideration of the impact on a family whose whole purpose is wrapped up in the effort of building a community of believers.

It's a complicated thing to have a front pew view of the pastor and the people of the church.  I saw the ideal concepts thrust against the real-life humanity.  I saw co-minister betray in speech and actions.  I saw the humble sacrifices and the desperate prayers.

Being connected to the clergy in such a personal way remains a privilege to me.  I have a soft spot in my heart for ministry families.  I understand the backdrop of church life from an insider's perspective.  So, I want to encourage everyone to let their pastor and ministers know they are seen and appreciated.  The church is made of its people and we are encouraged by our leaders.  They are most encouraged when we express our gratitude.

Ministers love the cards, baked goods and sentiments of appreciate.  But to speak to their heart, let your minister know how he or she has made a difference in your life.  Share a message, scripture, hug or moment where you were changed because of him/her.  Ministers aren't in it for the fame or the income, ministers want to make a difference. Also:

1) Be Dependable - in attendance, tithe and communication.  Pray for the church, the unity, the financial needs and wisdom for leadership.

2) Connect with your clergy and congregation.  Participate whenever possible and make church a priority.  Foster relationships with others in the church.  When you "do life" together, you build a community that is authentic beyond the Sunday services.

3) Keep it Real.  Don't expect perfection or entertainment that competes with the secular.  Churches are full of humans, from the pulpit down to the nursery.  You add to the community of believers when you bring your unique, quirky, real self to the community.  Stop weighing your commitment by what the church does for you and look for what you can add to the church.  THIS is how you will know you are a part.

What are you doing to encourage your church leaders?