Originally, I planned on titling this message, “5 Ways to Bless Your Pastor.” But as I started interviewing Pastors and their wives about this article, I realized blessing our pastor isn’t just about doing something for him. Sometimes the biggest blessing can come from what we don’t do.

So, I retitled this blog hoping to truly give insight into what our Pastors want us to know but can’t really announce from the pulpit.

I’m passionate about understanding how to love and support those who lead my church. But I have to admit, I’m not a heroine in this article. I’m still learning how to apply the Biblical principle of 1 Timothy 5:17-18.

“Elders who are leading well should be admired and valued. Double up on the honor shown them; care for them well—especially those constantly and consistently teaching the word and preaching. For the Scripture agrees, “Don’t muzzle the ox while it is treading out your grain,” and, “The worker deserves his wages.” ”

Paul knew that blessing the Pastor was remarkably important when he said these words to Timothy and now to us all.

A wise, incredibly humble Texan Pastor I interviewed yesterday said, “Some would think double honor sounds excessive, but the reality is no one fully understands the pressures on your Pastor at any given time as they carry with them the burdens of many in the congregation quietly and confidentially… This is not work that you can leave at the office, it weighs on you. I believe it is for this reason Paul calls us to double honor.”

So, how do we apply this? Here are some insights shared with me from Pastors and their wives all over the country:

1. Do the basics consistently.

The greatest way to bless your pastor is to be one of those faithful people who attends, serves and gives consistently. This gives such assurance to a Pastor and their staff.

One of the most well studied Pastors I know on church leadership said, “When people do the regular basics and never make a big deal about it, the other stuff you do for your Pastor is so much more meaningful. Some people try to bless their Pastor on their terms and they are loud about it. They don’t tithe… but hey Pastor-you can use our lakehouse with strings attached.”

Let’s bless our Pastor and his staff with the basics. Give gifts without strings. And don’t toot our horn about doing so.

2. Let go of the unrealistic expectations.

Almost every Pastor I talked to addressed the issue of inviting he and his family over for dinner. While it seems like something we’re doing for the Pastor, it usually isn’t the gift they need. More than spending time with my family, they need to spend time with theirs. Bless them with gift certificates. Or schedule to take them a meal and just drop it off- especially during those busy times of Easter and Christmas.

Of course, they will have friends who are close enough where a dinner with that family is completely comfortable and refreshing. But let the Pastor and his wife initiate this. Give them the freedom to have close friends and not feel guilty or exclusive in doing so. One Pastor’s wife said to me, “I think the thing that discourages me the most is people commenting on my friendships. Using the word clique to describe my friendships rather than just being happy I have a community is hurtful.”

Let’s bless our Pastor and his family with freedom. They need friends. And it’s okay if we’re not dinner buddies.

3. Love the Pastor’s wife.

One Pastor wrote and said, “Please give my wife face to face affirmation.” Another said, “When my wife hears negative things about the church or me-it crushes her.”

Another Pastor’s wife gave some interesting insight into how to greet her so she doesn’t feel like a heel for not remembering everyone personally. She said, “It’s hard when people say-Do you remember me? Instead just introduce yourself and remind me where we’ve met before.”

Let’s commit to our Pastor’s wife the gift of kind words. I know as a female leader, when someone commits to me that they will only say kind and affirming things about me, my ministry, and my family-it makes me feel so safe.

4. Don’t assume other people are encouraging your Pastor.

Send those notes of encouragement. Write the email where you tell him what a difference that sermon made in your life. Don’t assume they get plenty of positive feedback-because usually they aren’t.

Let’s commit to not just be someone who appreciates our Pastor in our hearts-but let’s let them know over and over.

5. Keep studying how to bless your Pastor.

Become aware of how your Pastor best needs to be blessed and step into that role. Make it a family mission to be one of those foundational families at church who stays out of the drama, seeks to give not take, and stays for the long haul honoring him all the way.

And don’t forget the other Pastoral staff who serve so faithfully as well.

It’s Biblical. It’s good. And while I’ve got a long way to go, I’m committed to honoring my Pastors with much more intentionality. What about you?

By Lysa TerKeurst

Lysa admits that she, like most women has had experiences where others bump into her happy and she comes emotionally unglued. We stuff, we explode, or we react somewhere in between. Filled with gut-honest personal examples and bible teaching, Unglued will equip you to: Know with confidence how to resolve conflict in your important relationships and find peace in your most difficult relationships as you learn to be honest but kind when offended. Click here for information on Unglued.

  • jedidja

    Thank you for posting this. Its so great, it brings me great ideas and I’m looking forward to practice this.

    • Michael Hannah


      After reading your post, the one thing I thought of was just referring you to this encouraging word:

      Blessings to you!

  • Linda Stoll

    OH YES …

    These are words that need to be heard well by all of us who sit in the pews … because if we aren’t lovingly supportive, that shepherd is going to slowly but surely feel like Gumby, pulled in all directions, energy draining by the minute.

    Here’s a few practical steps that he {or she!} can take that will keep the wise pastor from going there …

  • Kara Nutt

    Love these. As a Pastors Daughter I can affirm each and every one. I would also add one.

    Let their kids be kids. Don’t hold them to a higher standard simple because they are the pastors kids and should be “A better example”. They are learning about Jesus just like your kids are.

    I ran away from the church for a very long time because I wasn’t allowed the freedom in the church to grow up and decide to believe for myself. It was thrust on me to be a leader simply because I was the pastors daughter.

    I’ve since come back and I’m working on getting my pastoral degree myself, however, it came after leaving and deciding that it was God’s calling for me not the churches will.

  • Christina

    This couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. Thank you!! There is so much turmoil in our church right now. God is making some amazing changes and there are some people who are terrified of change. This is causing great stress in our pastoral staff. Thank you for helping me to love our staff!

  • Robyn @ a bird in the Father’s hand

    Thank you, Lysa. This pastor’s wife appreciates your message, and all points are very true. It could be our area or culture, but I think we would appreciate more of the old-fashioned practice of inviting the pastor’s family over for Sunday lunch or dinner occasionally. I really want to get together with people of our flock, but sometimes it is exceedingly difficult to host, especially since “home-making” doesn’t come naturally to me (shocker!), and since I do feel like it could reflect negatively on certain people spiritually if my home isn’t exactly in perfect order (my own issues, yes).
    Most importantly, however – honor. God has called, anointed, an equipped my husband to preach and lead this flock closer to Jesus – he is indeed the “Man of God.” What I would love to see is a holy reverence for the God in him, and a conviction that closes critical mouths and gossiping tongues against pastors all over this world – for His Name sake.

    • K

      Thank you pastors wife for sharing that your home isn’t perfect. That is a struggle of mine as well and always a comfort when other women admit that it encourages me to do better. May God Bless you as you support your husband.

  • Monica Steely

    Um…yes and yes and yes some more. My husband is an Assistant Pastor, and I would especially agree with number 4. There is no shortage of criticism and frustration shared, but encouragement is sadly missing. Thank you for this message, Lysa!!

  • Pam

    This is so wonderful. Thank you. Extremely helpful information.

  • Nancy Ruegg

    Thank you, Lysa, for your time and effort to research what pastors need from their congregations. As another pastor’s wife, I can concur all your suggestions are spot on. If people would only stop to think: What will create the most conducive atmosphere for God t to work in our church: negativity or positivity? What will give our pastor energy, passion, and confidence: criticism or encouragement? Too often we just don’t consider the consequences of such choices–and I include myself.

  • Lynn Warren

    Thanks, Lysa. Much needed refresher course in being hospitable and kind to, yes, even a pastor and his wife, who we so very often and quickly take for granted.

  • Amy

    Thank you so much for this! I agree with everything you said, but #1 is so important. My husband and I are church-planters, and tomorrow is our fourth service. Having people who we know will be faithful to be there, serving and giving, means so much to us.

    Would it be tacky for me to print this and put it in our church’s lobby? ;-)

  • Beth Williams

    I know my pastor goes above and beyond the call. Although it is a small chuch and during the week he has “free time” I still feel he goes over. For instance he called my dad a few years ago and they discussed things. A few weeks later he drove 20 miles, one way, to get my dad and rebaptize him. He has stopped in twice since to visit my dad. He even did my mom’s funeral and the church fed my family. Mind you my parents didn’t even go to that church. That is the kind of wonderful Christian man he is.

    A few years ago my pastor’s wife was dx with breast cancer. The whole church rallied around her. I personally made some food for them to eat after the surgery. I gave them several gift cards to Zaxby’s to use after treatment.

    I try to compliment them often & let them know I appreciate all their hard work!

  • Gina

    Amen! This pastor’s wife agrees, especially with the second point. We love to visit with folks from church, but in all honesty sometimes it’s difficult because we feel we are expected to counsel or help them with issues at the same time. I just really want to hang out, and get to know you and your family-that’s what I want when I spend time with people from the church. But all too often, we just need family time. Honestly there are some seasons when we are only all together as a family one evening a week. Really. Getting more family time is huge!

    And I’d also add, love on their kids-and let them be kids. Don’t expect their babies to be held by you all service long. Don’t expect to hold their babies at all. Just be there for them and encourage them as children, just like you’d want someone to do for your own kids.

    Thank you for some great ideas!

  • Melanie

    Lysa- what a great list. Another pastor’s wife concurs!
    We were church planters for many years and this past year my husband accepted an associate (discipleship) pastor position at a very large church. It has been such a change for me to go from where I knew intimately the initial core team of 10 people to now coming in where I’m still learning faces and names spread across five services.
    Thanks for writing this :)

  • Melissa

    This is great. There is often a misperception that pastors are somehow superhuman with boundless energy and bulletproof feelings. When our church got a new pastor a few years ago he completely blew that out of the water. One of the first things he brought to the church staff was a declaration that “You people need to REST.” He’s been very open about his humanness and that of the rest of the staff. They need rest. They need space. They need to be treated like people. I’m grateful for that perspective. It really changed the way I relate to church leadership for the better.

  • Lisa

    Thank you for your words…from yet another pastor’s wife.

  • Bekah

    Thank you! My husband works a full time job and pastors a church. What you shared is spot on :)

  • Eileen

    Amen, my hubby and I pastored for a while unitl I got too ill, those are some wonderful things to think about.

  • cheryl

    A hearty AMEN from this pastor’s wife. This is very well said.

  • Christine Hoover

    As a church planting pastor’s wife, I love this post. Thank you, Lysa.
    I personally like to be invited into someone else’s home because I am so often the hostess. I especially like when people invite us over and then show interest in getting to know us, not just share about themselves so they can be known by the pastor and his wife.

    I also appreciate when people have realistic expectations of me, when they realize that being the pastor’s wife is not a job and that it’s not possible for me to know everyone really well.

    Overall, I love being a pastor’s wife and I love our church!

  • Melissa

    Thank you, Lysa! My pastor husband is currently lying sick on the sofa. Yes, the stress and issues of the church physically make him sick every few months. Our members that pray for us, bring chicken soup & encourage us make all the difference.

  • Allison

    Great stuff; right on! I’m married to a worship pastor, and I would say many of the same lessons are applicable for the entire pastoral staff. Thanks again!

  • Lauren Cunningham

    Great advice, Lysa! Thanks for giving such intentional ways to affirm our church leaders.

  • Let’s Get Real

    Come on people, let’s get real. So all it takes to make our pastor’s happy is to tithe, serve, and attend? It’s it really that simple? Is that all it takes to be a “Good Little Christian?” Come on people, Jesus came so that we may have an abundant life, all of us. Not just pastors and pastor’s wives. We put them on a pedastal like they are mini God’s and they are just people with a high calling to preach. Other Christians in the world have high callings in other areas in life yet we don’t seek to bless them? Yes they do carry burdens but they are not the only Christians who carry alot of burdens. it’s just they are up on stage and out in front. What about those Christians who carry burdens for many and are unseen by the Church folk? Funny all these comments come from someone with an attachment to the church. Well this one comes from someone who loves God and isn’t attached to a church so here’s another perspective for you. Yes you can give you pastors double honor if they are sheperding thier flocks as God calls them too. And not just standing up their for thier own personal goals and gains. And double honor doesn’t necessarily mean buy them gifts, giving them giftcards, etc. We just do that on our own account as if there is some gain out of giving the pastors nice gift. Like they can put in a good word for us. So yes honor your pastor for what he does, but don’t forget to bless and honor all those around you. Especially those in need.

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  • Truth lover

    Dear Let’s Get Real,

    I am praying for you it seems that you may need to study your Bible specifically Heb 10:25 and realize that if you are a Christian you are living in rebellion and sin to what the Bible says in this verse. Please ask God to forgive you for forsaking the assembling together, get to a good Bible believing church, and start using the gifts that God has given you to encourage those who are in the faith as they encourage you!! It will amaze you how it will change your attitude toward life and it will restore the joy of your salvation.

    Thank you Lysa for these encouraging words to the children of God!!

    • Let’s Get Real

      Dear Truth Lover,

      Maybe you should read your bible a little bit more before throwing out scriptures. A gathering of believers doesn’t just include the church on Sunday. It can be at someone’s home, a parking lot, practically anywhere. Where two or more are gathered…. and our focus at church is celebration and worship. Not just to be counted as a number, give some money, and move on our merry way out into the world. Not once did i say not go to church. My comments were strictly based on the thought process that leads to worshipping our pastors and man, and not Jesus. Our main focus is not to attend church like good little soldiers and do exactly what we’re told by man. What happens to the 98% of your life outside of church? Giving gift cards and focusing on taking care of our pastors is not the #1 priority. It may be for them, but not for us. I could go on and on but it’s probably not worth fighting the religious hypocrites. I pray for Christianity to rise up and start doing the things that God intended we do, not focus on the laws created by man.

  • http://notready Pastor. V.Rajamanickam Mony, India.

    Yes, what you have interviewed from Pastors and his wives are correct. Just doing the ‘as usual’ things consistently, I repeat, conistantly, is a great encouragement to the pastor and his wife. Thank you, thank you for such profound points. Mony.

  • Nicole

    this pastor’s wife thanks you for this post. October is Pastor Appreciation Month~very timely! Thanks again

  • Janis Cox

    I would like to repost one of your blog posts. I write Under the Cover of Prayer. Your post was on praying for our pastors – we need such posts. Please tell me if I can repost.
    It is this post.

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  • pat

    Not sure if anyone reads this but thnks i used to think i had to b close to the leadership even in a small church. It helps to know while im not fond of cliques, that you have close friends and perhaps those that arent that close to you. Sometimes distance is better and before someone can intimately know you it should be lead of the Lord

  • Marinalva Sickler

    What a great message! As a pastor daughter, I agree with you about the basics. I love my pastor, Dr. Jeff Walker and his wife, Pastor Melissa, and his children. I feel honored in receiving a hug and be called by my name, since the second time I spoke with him at the end of the service. It’s a hard name for an American to say and he learned quickly. I pray for him always and my deceased husbands was his fervent admirer.
    We would be very happy if we would learn to honor, double honor, those in spiritual authority over us. God bless my pastor.
    Love you

  • lewie

    this is just great! thank you so much for this post :) i am actually checking on monthly special events, and this one sure is :0 thanks again :) you are a blessing!