With Christmas gifts wrapped, trees decked and the smell of Christmas dinner in the air, maybe you have given a thought to your Pastor. What do you get a Pastor for Christmas? As you gather as a family and enjoy the Christmas services and down time together, he’s still been working as have most of his family. So what do you get him for Christmas?
Maybe you want it to be something useful , so you think restaurant voucher for the Pastor and his wife to go on a date. Maybe you think of baby-sitting ‘vouchers’. Maybe you think of books or a new Bible, because you can never have enough of those! Those are all good ideas, they really are, but let me tell you about another gift that you can get your Pastor.
This gift is doesn’t cost much, you won’t have to elbow your way through the Christmas shopping crowds to get it, the excitement of it will last longer than Christmas Day and it benefits you just as much as it does him. Too good to be true? Well, that gift is you! Here’s what I mean…
1. Be present
Be a church member who shows up. Don’t dodge church for your own comfort, but show up. You’ll learn, you’ll grow and you’ll fellowship with other Christians. Plus the Bible says to gather with your church so do it 🙂
Don’t treat Sunday services as an optional extra that you throw in if you’re not too tired or if the weekend is quiet. Intensionally plan your time around church and gathering with your local congregation. People often talk about wanting to be blessed by going to church, but in all that chat they often forget that their presence is normally a blessing to others too!
2. Be encouraging
Listen to sermons well, nod along, pay attention, take notes and thank the Pastor (and everyone else who has served!). I’ve often heard Pastor’s want to do external things because they feel more encouragement by doing it. That’s both great and saddening. Our churches should be places where those who serve are thanked for their service and encouraged in their gifts.
Thanks your Pastor for the sermon or sermon series that you’re really enjoying. Be specific; “I’m really wrestling with the tough stuff in Job, thanks for preaching through it” “thanks for that sermon, I really needed reminding of God’s love and mercy today” “thanks for that message, it felt that you were talking right to me, the Lord used your sermon to convict me of sin today”. These are small conversations, or texts and emails, that really encourage a Pastor in his work.
3. Be hungry
Don’t be a Sunday-Christian who sits in church and leaves again only to think about God the next Sunday at 10:55 just before the service begins again. Be a church member who wants to feast on God’s Word and grow. Be a Christian who wants to soak up all the knowledge they can about God, the Bible and Theology. Be a Christian who seeks out teaching and discipleship. Ask for a 1-1, ask for books to read, ask for recommendations on sermons, preachers, podcasts, etc. Be a Christian who wants to devour everything good and wholesome for your own spiritual growth and then pass it on to others.
4. Be serving
Attending church is great, and necessary, but so is serving. It’s not about filling rotas, that will always happen, it’s about using your God-given gifts to serve your brothers and sisters and help the church. For you that might be making tea for after the service, or preaching, or teaching Sunday School or welcoming people in the door. Service isn’t always flashy or seen by others but it always seen by God who you’re ultimately serving.
Be a brother or sister who wants to pass on your knowledge to other Christians. Get into 1-1s with others, pray for people, visit people, do pastoral care. Take the initiative and get busy for Jesus. I’m always encouraged to see members serving with the gifts God has given them, your Pastor will be too.
5. Be like Jesus
In short, be more like Jesus. Make the ‘tough decisions’ in life to be a radical disciple who denies themselves and takes up their cross to follow Jesus. Live your life, in every area, for Him and His glory. Be present like Jesus was with His disciples. Be an encouragement like Jesus was as He pointed people to God and how to be right with Him. Be hungry like Jesus was to spread the news of the Kingdom of God far and wide and to see people grow in their understanding of who God is. Be serving like Jesus who have of Himself for the good of others. Be a follower of Jesus who wholeheartedly seeks to live for Him, who shares the gospel freely and frequently and who speaks words to build up and convict those around you whilst pointing them to Jesus with every word.
These things cannot be wrapped neatly under a Christmas tree, they cannot be handed over to your Pastor with a bow on top, but they will be a great source of joy and encouragement for Him throughout his service. But it’s a gift that will be for your own good too. 5 little things that you can gift to your Pastor that will be a gift to your own soul too.