Pastor authority
Pastors need affirmation as well as anyone. (Lightstock)

I just received a letter from a delightful lady. She was a member of a church where I was ordained in the ministry. What I remember most about her was the way she offered encouragement to the pastors of that church.

The letter reminded me of so many good laypersons that served sacrificially in churches where I have been. With that in mind, I asked several pastors to recall something very positive said to them by church members. I asked them to try to summarize it in one sentence. Though I shouldn’t be surprised, each of the pastors did not hesitate to offer one “joyful sentence.”

Here are the 14 I’ve accumulated thus far. They are only in the order I received them and wrote them on my iPhone.

  1. “I would like to babysit your kids so you can go on a date with your wife.”
  2. “Pastor, let me tell you specifically what I learned from your sermon and how it helped me.”
  3. “Your wife should have the freedom to be herself in the church.”
  4. “I confronted your critic about those unfounded claims he made about you.”
  5. “I’m setting aside five minutes every day to pray for you and your family.”
  6. “I explained to the personnel committee how a package is not the same as your salary.”
  7. “Your kids should be able to live a normal life.”
  8. “Thank you.”
  9. “I want to help you recruit people to do ministry.”
  10. “I am so thankful for the time you spend in sermon preparation.”
  11. “We don’t expect you to attend every meeting or function.”
  12. “Let me do that for you.”
  13. “Tell me how I can most help your wife.”
  14. “Here is a gift card to get you some books for your library.”

Yes, ministry is tough. Yes, we run into some difficult people more often than we like. But the reality is there are so many good people, so many good church members. These are but a few of the reminders of how pastors have been blessed by those church members.

What would you add to this list?

Thom S. Rainer is president of LifeWay Christian Resources. For the original article, visit

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