How to Encourage Your Pastor and His Family


I was surprised by the response I received to a post I wrote at Counting My Blessings last week titled, 12 Things to Pray for Your Pastor and His Family.

48 hours after it posted, I became even more convinced that pastors and their families are in serious need of encouragement and support.

Many pastors deal with a feeling of isolation and discouragement.

The following are some comments I found:

  • The church and people in the community are very friendly, but they also expect 24/7 availability without really opening their lives and homes to my family and me.
  • Some people are negative about everything I do and say. 
  • I’m afraid to be vulnerable in front of my congregation because I’m afraid it will lower their opinion of me. 
  • Anonymous negativity and gossip hurts me and my family and divides the congregation. 
  • Some members expect my wife to work as many hours as I do.
  • It feels impossible for my family to meet member expectations. 

How can church members encourage pastors and their families?

1. Stop judging and criticizing them.
2. Get to know them personally.
3. Let them know you appreciate them.
4. Be patient with their children.
5. Speak well of them to others.
6. Pray for your pastor and your pastor’s family.

 Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13

How can ministers encourage each another?

1. Stop competing with each other.
2. Communicate with other pastors and their families.
3. Set up ministry groups either in person or on-line.
4. Offer to watch each other’s children for date nights.
5. Speak well of each other in the community.
6. Pray for each other.

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Those who serve in ministry work hard. They do their best to love and bless the people around them; however, they aren’t perfect and it’s unfair to expect them or their families to be error free. Now is the time to love and encourage them.

Please pray for the pastors you know. Pray for their spouses and children.

Let’s find a way to be there for each other with phone calls, notes, visits, or on-line. Any suggestions?

I once asked our pediatrician if he knew what he’d have to deal with in parents when he decided to care for children. He laughed and said, “Parents are definitely a challenging part of the profession.”

Let’s decide not to be the “challenging part of the profession” for our pastors as they do their best to trust and serve the Lord and His children.

4 Responses to How to Encourage Your Pastor and His Family
  1. Jody Lee Collins
    July 14, 2013 | 7:42 pm

    Deb, my brother is the pastor of our church where we’ve attended for over 20 years….I confess in the beginning I was one of those people who had very unrealistic expectations about pastors.

    Since that time I can gratefully say he has never that I can recall shared with me anything negative he’s experienced from parishioners, especially because I’m the big sister. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t experienced the issues you shared.

    This was a great post–and I can concur with the pediatrician–I’ve been an elementary teacher for over 20 years and if it weren’t for all the parents’ issues, I’d REALLY enjoy teaching a lot more. Interesting paradox there.

    • Deb
      July 15, 2013 | 1:29 pm

      Hi Jody, Thanks for your words of encouragement. I used to teach little ones too. Definitely relate to our pediatrician’s comment. I’m glad your brother has been blessed with a positive congregation. I’m sure having his sis and family close by helps. One of the main struggles for clergy families is being so far from family for holidays and special events. Many blessings to you. BTW – Loved your site.

  2. Melanie Wilson
    July 15, 2013 | 8:12 pm

    This is such an important topic, Deb. Another thing people can do is insist that their pastors and wives get involved in retreats that are designed to minister to their needs. We have to see pastors and their wives as human with needs.

    • Deb
      July 16, 2013 | 3:47 pm

      Good suggestion Melanie. Retreats also help pastors and their wives become closer to other members of their congregations. Thanks for adding this.