12 Words of Encourgement for Pastors (Or Other Leaders)

I love pastors. Each week, through this blog and my personal ministry, God allows me to partner with dozens of pastors, helping them think through life and ministry issues. I’ve learned that many pastors struggle to find people who will invest in them and help them grow as individuals, leaders and pastors.

Recently I had a pastor ask me for my “best advice” for other pastors. Wow! That’s hard to say. I’ve learned so much through the pastors who have invested in me and by experience. It’s hard to summarize all that I’ve learned. It could probably fill a book or two…but at least more than one blog post!

I put some thought into the question and decided to come up with a list of encouragement, one that I would give to all pastors, to answer his question. I’m sure there’s more (and you can help by adding yours), but this post is at least a start. Of course, wisdom is transferable to other fields, so change a few words around and I’d give this advice to any leader…some of them perhaps to any person.

Here are 12 words of encouragement for pastors:

Choose your friends wisely…but choose friends. Don’t attempt to lead alone. Too many pastors avoid close friendships because they’ve been hurt. They trusted someone with information who used it against them. Finding friends you can trust and be real with means you’ll sometimes get injured, but the reward is worth it.

The church can never love your family as much as you do. Your family needs you more than the church does. They can get another pastor. Your family doesn’t want another you. You’ll have to learn to say “no”, learn how to balance and prioritize your time, and be willing to delegate to others in the church. (You may want to read THIS POST from my friend Michael Hyatt on saying “no” with grace.”

If you protect your Sabbath day, your Sabbath day can better protect you. You’ll wear out quickly without a day a week to rejuvenate. God designed us this way. Take advantage of His provision. Take time to rest. You may not rest like everyone else…for me rest doesn’t mean doing nothing…but you need time away from the demands of ministry regularly. Lead your church to understand you can’t be everywhere every time. You owe it to yourself, your family, your church and your God.

You have influence…use it well. The pastorate comes with tremendous power and responsibility. It’s easy to abuse or take for granted. Don’t. Humility welcomes the hand of God on your ministry.

No amount of accountability or structure will keep you from temptation if you’re heart is impure. Above all else, guard your heart. (Proverbs 4:23) Avoid any hint of temptation. Look for the warning signs your heart is drifting. Keep your heart saturated with God’s Word and in prayer.

Let God lead. You can do some things well. God can do the impossible. Whom do you think should ultimately be leading the church? You’ll be surprised how much more effective your leadership will be when it’s according to His will and not yours.

If you can dream it, God can dream it bigger. Don’t dismiss the seemingly ridiculous things God calls you to do. They won’t always make sense to others or meet their immediate approval, but God’s ways will prove best every time.

Keep Jesus the center of focus in the church. You’ll never have a money problem, a people problem, or a growth problem if people are one with Jesus.

Your personal health affects the health of the church. Take care of yourself relationally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This, too, requires discipline, balance and prioritizing, but if, to the best of your ability, you strive to be healthy in every area of your life, as a good shepherd, your people will be more likely to follow your example.

The people in your church deserve authenticity. Not only will be honest about who you are help keep you from trying to meet unreal expectations, but it will help the people in your church be transparent with you and others. Don’t be someone you’re not. Be someone worthy to follow, but make sure you’re living it…not just teaching it.

You’ll never make everyone happy. If you try, you’ll be very unhappy…and very unproductive.

Now, make this post better. As you can count, there are only 11 here. I’m counting on you to add your best number 12.

What word of encouragement do you have for pastors (or other leaders)?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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53 thoughts on “12 Words of Encourgement for Pastors (Or Other Leaders)

  1. I have to say we keep Jesus as the focus of our ministry and we have constant money issues. It's very frustrating when other Evangelical entities, who are there to give financial help to ministries, make people in ministries that are there to further the Kingdom of Christ dance to have them throw a few bread crumbs at them. It's disgusting the way the Evangelical church treats each other. There is such unbiblical disunity amongst this group that totes around how biblical they are.

  2. Conflict is better dealt with prayerfully but face – a conflict ducked is a conflict unresolved and it will not go away.

  3. Take time for yourself and family. Seem like there not enough time to complete work for the week when others do not complete the assigned duties. Not being quick to judge, yet being patient the work has to get done. Trying ways to correct the problem. Any help is appreciated.

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  5. i'd like to repost this on our blog barnabashouseok.wordpress.com Barnabas House of Oklahoma is a ministry to burned out, wounded pastors and their spouses. you can learn more about us at http://www.barnabashouseok.com or on our Facebook page Barnabas House Oklahoma.

  6. Learn to be a positive person. This is much more difficult than most pastors realize. We can get tired, frustrated, and even so passionate that we lose our ability to encourage others.

  7. "And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him" (Colossians 3:17).

  8. Great words today Ron. I love the emphasis on taking care of oneself and family above job or ministry. I have witnessed too many times ministers sacrificing both their mental/physical health and family on the altar of 'church.' I hope many people read your post and take action.

  9. • Seek spiritual direction and mentoring (not just peer relationships/friendships).

    • Slate in several hours on end of personal prayer silent retreat per month. Sabbatical every 3-4 years (for a few months).

    • Remember that relationships not programs define ministry.