One of the heartbreaking things church members go through is losing a pastor they love. The church may not even notice the Pulpit Committee (Pastor Search Committee) that quietly shows up one Sunday. They may not notice the pastor missed a Sunday or two to preach “in view of a call” at another church. They may not know the pastor wanted to move; they thought everything was fine. And the pastor has good reason to keep things quiet until another church has called him as pastor. So often the first information the church has that their pastor is leaving is when he stands in the pulpit and formally announces his resignation.
How do you keep a pastor?
To the deacons and laymen out there who want to keep their pastor, these are a few things that might help. And these are things your pastor will probably never mention.
1. A cost of living adjustment for your pastor each year. Not really a raise in salary, just keeping up his salary with inflation. Over several years, a set salary seriously declines. And like you, the pastor has to support his family and pay his bills. Give him some pride and ability to do so.
2. Consider a real, live, honest to goodness raise in his salary. After all he’s doing a good job, is experienced, and you want to keep him.
3. Take him aside and tell him what a good job he’s doing. Better yet, tell it in front of the church.
4. Get the church to add to his monthly retirement contributions to GuideStone. If you don’t know about Guidestone Financial Services of the SBC, check with a fellow pastor or your Baptist Association’s Director of Missions. If he is not contributing to his GuideStone Retirement, have the church begin doing so for him.
5. Check with the pastor and his wife about things needing improved in the parsonage. Provide the money, but if they prefer, let them take care of it. After all, as long as they are there, it’s their house. Give them some privacy. You wouldn’t want someone else running things in in your house.
6. Make sure the pastor and his family are free to take a couple of days off each week. Make sure the church knows and supports this.
7. Seriously pray for your pastor. He has burdens and stress you will never know.
8. Bring others with you to church.
9. Be present, with a good attitude, at every church service; Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, or whatever schedule your church has. A good crowd is encouraging and helps him preach better.
10. Allow the pastor the funds to buy at least one new book each month.
11. Support his plans to reach more people for Christ.
12. Faithfully give your tithes and offerings to your church.
Make things so good for your pastor he’d be crazy to go anywhere else.
But know that sometimes under the best of circumstances, God will lead your pastor elsewhere. If so, use the above to encourage your next pastor.
-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, April 1, AD 2014.
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