Having a pastor is the greatest advantage of being a youth worker. You don’t have to worry about marriage counseling, financial meetings, budget cuts, P.T.A. meetings, administration, raising offerings, and preaching three times a week. Always keep it in perspective that you work for him. He was doing fine before you came along. Because of his church-building abilities you have an opportunity to serve.
If you are a paid staff member, remember that he is putting groceries on your family’s table. That’s why it is so important to keep the pastor encouraged—not only because it is the Christian thing to do, but also because it ensures the security of your working with the same teens for a long time. If the pastor gets discouraged and leaves, you are out of a job. Following are some suggestions to keep the pastor encouraged:
1. Do Your Job
Be an asset, not a liability. Do what you are told and more. Don’t forget things. Don’t lose your keys. Take notes when in meetings.
2. Pray for Him and Let Him Know That You Do
3. Be Sensitive to the Way the Pastor Wants Things Done
Have a motto, “There is a way we do things around here.” Do them his way.
4. Be Loyal
Loyalty is not silent. Loyalty silences critics. Loyalty defends. Stand up for your pastor.
5. Don’t Tie Your Pastor Up with Personal Appointments
You are there to “free him up” and not to “tie him up.” Grow up. Mature. Listen. Get your problems solved quickly so you can help others.
6. Give above and beyond the Tithe
Be an example in your giving.
7. Write Your Pastor Encouraging Notes
Be specific in your praise.
8. Be Thankful
Be thankful for your pastor’s time, encouragement, benefits, salary, opportunity to serve, being a pastor to your family, and for being your friend.
9. Remember Him and His Family on Special Occasions
Be an example to others of doing something nice for his birthday, wedding anniversary, Christmas, his church anniversary, etc.
10. Be Prepared at Staff Meetings
Don’t stop your pastor for “hallway counseling” during the week. Important questions can be readied by staff meeting time. He is gearing up for his three sermons and does not need his thinking constantly interrupted. A question is not very important if a person doesn’t think of it until he sees the pastor. Read this paragraph again.
11. Respect His Privacy
Don’t call the pastor at home unless it is important. Don’t drop by unannounced.
12. Represent Him Well at Church and in Public
Never let him be embarrassed by your words, activities, or clothing. You represent him everywhere you go.
13. Encourage Him to Stay At the Church the Rest of His Life
Longevity of the pastor is a key to turning out successful crops of teens.
14. Endear the Teens to Him
Let them know that if it weren’t for the pastor, you wouldn’t get to work with the teens. Brag on him to them.
15. Let His Kids Be Kids
The pastor’s family is already in a glass house. Treat the pastor’s kids a little extra special. This will help them not become bitter or disillusioned by the ministry. Give them a little extra of your time.
16. Ask Him to Speak At Some of Your Youth Events
You could have teens give their testimony of how the pastor’s preaching has helped them. Gifts, plaques, and notes are always appropriate. We are to “regard him highly for his work’s sake.”
17. Have an “Honor the Pastor” Night
When I was a youth pastor we surprised our pastor “big time.” We planned it for weeks. When I led the Sunday night service in prayer, a huge banner was unfolded on the balcony. It said “We love you, preacher!” We handed him a box of notes written by the teens. We brought a recliner to the platform. His boots were pulled off, and we put his slippers on his feet. A full mug of Pepsi was brought out (his favorite drink). At that time, three ladies in the church came out wearing veils on their faces carrying feather fans. They began fanning him and dropping grapes in his mouth.
The crowd went wild! We then read letters and played “congratulations” tapes from five of his hero’s. There was even a letter from President Reagan. We then presented him with a new suit that the teens had bought him along with a barbeque smoker. We also rented the “Billy Sunday” video (his hero) to show after the service to the entire church. He has never forgotten that night!
The entire production took 15 minutes, but it vividly affected scores of youth and adults on how to honor God’s man. No one knows the load he carries. You can never try too hard to lighten his load.