12 Ways to Support a Busy Pastor

Good Support Staff Allow the Pastor to Be More Effective

1. Be a Servant, and Keep a Servant’s Heart

  • Being a servant is much more than service—it’s our attitude and spirit.
  • There are 462 verses in the Bible about being a servant!

John Kenneth Galbraith was a noted economist in the early 1900s who was called upon by many dignitaries to help sort the economic markets. He wrote the following story in his autobiography about his housekeeper:

“It had been a wearying day, and I asked Emily to hold all telephone calls while I had a nap. Shortly thereafter the phone rang. Lyndon Johnson was calling from the White House. ‘Get me Ken Galbraith. This is Lyndon Johnson.’ ‘He is sleeping, Mr. President. He said not to disturb him.’ ‘Well, wake him up. I want to talk to him.’ ‘No, Mr. President. I work for him, not you.’ When I called the President back, he could scarcely control his pleasure. ‘Tell that woman I want her here in the White House.’”

Emily the housekeeper understood an important truth - she was a servant to one man and obeyed his wishes explicitly. Her loyalties were to Mr. Galbraith alone. What a great example of a true servant.

2. Learn His Preferences

  • Learn his likes and dislikes
  • Paper clips or staples
  • Blue ink or black ink
  • Decaf coffee? Sugar or Splenda?
  • Know the importance of timing! Is it the right time to ask? Is it the right time to communicate discouraging news?

3. Do What You Can and Give to Him Only What He Must Do

  • Don’t ever have him do something that you can take care of for him.
  • Turn on his office lights right before you think he’ll be coming in.
  • Keep his office and desk supplied: printer paper stocked, tissues, highlighter markers—whatever he uses.
  • Weddings and funerals—I try to prepare all I can for him and give the order over to him.
  • Keep helpful counseling books on hand for him to offer after counseling appointments.
  • Keep bottled water nearby, and offer it to people coming in for an appointment, especially if they have to wait.

4. Don’t Ask Him Questions You Can Find the Answer To

5. Protect His Time in Order to Give Him More Hours in His Day

  • There are endless ways you can do this in handling phone calls, mail, interruptions, requests, etc.
  • Get to the office before he does.
  • Be on time for work. Early is on time and on time is late.

6. Insulate Him, But Do Not Isolate Him

Don’t give him negative information unless it’s an absolute must.

7. Inform Him without Inundating Him

  • Be a bottom-line assistant without wasting his time with too much conversation or too many unnecessary details.
  • Don’t give him information all day long. Choose once or twice a day to give him information so he is not inundated all day long.

8.  Be a Faithful Church Member

When I meet with potential wives of staff men coming onto our staff, they often ask me, “So, what’s expected of a staff wife?” Without hesitation, I say, “That’s easy. Be a good Christian! Be faithful, be in your place, and serve the people.”

9. Support His Vision and Philosophy

  • It’s people-work, not paper-work
  • Hospitality—have people into your home for fellowship
  • Serve in a ministry
  • Encourage your church members
  • Attend showers and the like when possible

10. Have a Clean Work Space

What’s a clean work space?

  • Clean floor
  • Empty trash can at the end of the day. Empty his trash can too—not just yours.
  • Have nothing left on your desk at the end of the day. I know if my office was a cluttered mess, I would make my pastor very nervous.
  • Have an orderly work space, desk, and office.

11. Be Flexible

It will reflect a servant’s heart.

12. Be Humble and Holy—not holier than thou

  • When you’re truly humble, you are more dependent upon God. Pride is ugly!
  • Being Spirit-filled is a must, “Walk in the spirit” (Galatians 5:16).

Ronald Reagan had many good quotes, and I like this one: “I could not bear the responsibility of being governor for even one day if it were not for my abiding faith in God.”

Your longevity will help and support your pastor.

  • If he gets a new assistant every 18 months, that won’t help him.
  • Don’t quit.

Be careful:

  • Guard your heart against pettiness. Don’t wear your feelings on your shoulder.
  • Pride is something we all battle with daily. Don’t be full of yourself.
  • Don’t lose your joy.
  • Don’t fall into a negative pit. The cup is always half full or half empty. It’s all in how you choose to see it.
  • Don’t fall in or stay in the pit of being overwhelmed. Psalm 61:2b, “When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Sure, we all get overwhelmed, but just don’t stay there.
  • In the minutia of work and details, don’t lose the ministry and the heart of it all.

Ask Yourself:

  • Am I teachable or set in my ways?
  • Am I approachable?
  • Am I confidential or eager to share?
  • Can my pastor/boss trust me?
  • Am I honest in all things?

Let’s push a reset button in our hearts to serve and support our pastors like never before!

“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might;” Ecclesiastes 9:10a

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