You may talk to yours every day. You may talk to yours once a week. You may have one you adore or one that you merely tolerate; but we all have them, and we must work with them. Pastors.
Yes, the struggle is real; but take heart my friends! “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood …” I pray that you don’t ever feel like you’re struggling with your pastor, but chances are—you do. Everyone does at some point. And, guess what? Your pastor struggles with you, too. I’ve never been a pastor, but I believe there are some important things he’d like you to understand better about him. Here are just five.
- Your pastor needs to hear success stories from you. Too often, the only things we share with our pastor are animosity and frustration over volunteer enlistment, parent hassles, budgets, and the like. Take time every week to put a note on your pastor’s desk, send an e-mail, or even show a picture of something great that happened on Sunday. Share stories of decisions for Christ, new families that have started attending, or a teacher who made a huge impact on her kids last week. Help your pastor know all the wonderful things that are being taught and accomplished in your ministry.
- He’ll be your advocate if you let him. It’s hard to do, but if something bad does happen (whether your fault or not), he needs to hear it from you—not an angry church member. He can’t stand up for you if he’s blindsided. Most often, it’s not as bad as you think. He’ll appreciate your trust in him and his trust in you will be strengthened as well.
- He needs encouragement. Your pastor is directly on the enemy’s target list each and every day. Yes, you are too. Magnify the number of complaints you get by at least five and you’ll have a better picture of what your pastor hears day in and day out. Instead of waiting for him to come by and praise you, take the opportunity to reach out and show your appreciation for all he does. It’s a little like the “pretty girl” syndrome. You know, the one where the pretty girl never gets asked out on a date because everyone thinks everyone else is asking her—so no one does? Everyone may assume that the pastor hears accolades daily, so no one says anything. Be the someone who lets him know he’s appreciated.
- He needs your loyalty. In any ministry position, you’ll find yourself bombarded with opportunities to join in on badmouthing the pastor or at least the decisions he makes. Instead, remember the Golden Rule and do for him what you’d like done for you. Stand up for your pastor. And if you don’t know what to say, then at least make it known that you won’t join in and leave the conversation. Or, if you really want to make an impact, offer to go with the person who’s talking so that they can speak personally with the pastor! Hmmm. That may even be biblical!
- He’s human. He makes mistakes. No, he doesn’t always acknowledge what you do. No, he doesn’t think to ask if you’d like to go to lunch with the other staff members (especially if they’re all guys and you’re the only female). No, he doesn’t always make it to every event you plan. (He doesn’t make it to other ministry events either; it just seems that yours are the only ones he misses!) No, he doesn’t always keep his temper. Do any of us? Give him some slack, just like you want him to give some back to you! Very few times (if any) is it meant to be personal.
One last thing, your pastor needs you to love his family, and especially his kids. He knows the world is a tough place for PKs and he worries what it’s doing to them. I want to say treat them like all the other kids in your ministry, but truly, you may need to love them just a little bit more! It’s hard living in a glass house 24/7! (As if you didn’t know!)
By the way, if you’re a pastor reading this, I’d love to hear what other things you wish kid ministers knew! Please share!
Klista Storts serves as an Editorial Ministry Specialist for LifeWay Kids. Before coming to LifeWay, she served as the Weekday and Preschool Specialist at the Tennessee Baptist Convention and as Director of Preschool Ministries at churches in Oklahoma and Tennessee. Klista has a passion for equipping leaders to share the love of Christ and lay foundations for conversion in the lives of kids.