There are very few things within the church more frequently discussed than the relationships and responsibilities between preachers and members. Consequently, there have also been many articles, seminars, meetings and events from both perspectives seeking to help build those relationships to where God wants them to be. While many times, the focus falls upon what the preacher is, or is not, doing and what is, or is not, his responsibility (and rightfully so); there are also some things that need to be understood when it comes to a member’s relationship with the preacher. Consider with me 3 of the best things that you, as a member, can do for your preacher.
1. Love him. Believe it or not, preachers are people too! They have feelings, struggles, cares, and concerns just like everyone else. While we all intuitively recognize the need for loving one another within our families (both physical and spiritual), it is sometimes difficult for members to remember that the preacher is more than just a man who gets paid by the congregation to speak and work. He is a brother in Christ, a man who has ups and downs like every other member, and one who needs to feel the love, care, and concern of the brethren for him just as much as anyone else. Therefore, one of the greatest things you can do for your preacher is show him you love him. Call him when he and his family are sick, just as you would want him to do for you. Do things for him that you would do for others about whom you care, not because it is required of you, but because it is what you want to do. Show him (and yes, even tell him) that you love him and care about him; because it is far easier to work with people who you know care about you than it is those who you are not sure even like you.
This does not mean you will agree on every opinion, and that’s okay. It does not mean that the preacher will never do anything wrong, or say anything in a way you do not think is best, he probably will: he is human. Yet, even in these things, show him you love him by extending the courtesy of going to him to talk about it, not everyone else. Show him you care just as much about his soul as he does about yours. It will make him want to work even harder and try to do better.
2. Help him. I know, I know, he’s the preacher and you hired him to do things that he has been prepared to do, whereas you have not. However, that does not mean that you cannot be of great help to your preacher; maybe in ways you had never considered. Like most jobs, while there are some things that are better left to be done alone, there are other things where more hands are better. One of the things preachers love most is to see people who want to work with them; people who are interested in spiritual things and in seeing to the needs of others. So, if you want to boost your preacher’s morale (not to mention help accomplish things God desires to see you do as well): offer to go out visiting the sick or shut-ins with the preacher or ask if he would mind you going with him to an area Gospel Meeting or Seminar.
However, there is another area that the member can be of great help to the preacher. You see, when preachers take so many hours each week to prepare sermons and classes that will be beneficial to the hearers in both instruction and encouragement, it is helpful to know that the intended purpose is being accomplished. Therefore, one of the greatest ways a member can help the preacher is to show him that you were listening to, and learned from, the things said. Maybe it was a particular verse, word, or idea discussed that stuck with you; or maybe it was just that you appreciate the topic he selected. You can help your preacher a great deal just by letting him know that the work and effort placed in those lessons has been of benefit to you.
3. Pray for him. There is not a preacher I know that does not desire the prayers of others on his behalf. The preacher has a very stressful, intense, and public job. One where scrutiny is common and pressure is high. Most preachers are working feverishly to reach out to the lost, to find ways to touch that prodigal son, and to impact their communities in the most positive way possible. Because of this, it always builds a preacher up to know that there are those with whom he works that are praying for him and the success of his endeavors. Paul would often ask his brethren to pray for him in his various works and conditions; so preachers should also desire the prayers of the members. If you want to give your preacher a boost, let him know you are praying for him, or for a particular endeavor that he has undertaken. It will mean more to him than he will be able to tell you.
There are many things the preacher needs to be doing and sometimes he falls short. However, these few things can help a preacher stay on track, be the kind of preacher God wants him to be, and be a blessing to you and those around you. If you will do these things you will have a stronger relationship with your preacher, and you will encourage him to continue fighting for the cause of Christ.
(This article is dedicated to the members of the Second Street congregation. They have reached out to me in each of these areas on a daily basis and it has strengthened me beyond measure.)