4 Ways to Encourage your Church Staff as a Sunday School/Small Group

Pastor Statistics:
• 23% have been fired or pressured to resign at least once in their careers.
• 25% don’t know where to turn when they have a family or personal conflict or issue.
• 25% of pastors’ wives see their husband’s work schedule as a source of conflict.
• 33% felt burned out within their first five years of ministry.
• 33% say that being in ministry is an outright hazard to their family.
• 40% of pastors and 47% of spouses are suffering from burnout, frantic schedules, and/or unrealistic expectations.
• 45% of pastors’ wives say the greatest danger to them and their family is physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual burnout.

When I finally accepted God’s call to ministry, two passages struck me as I prayed about this big decision:

Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20 NIV)

This passage reminded me that God will call me where God wants. I may not be close to my parents and siblings. I said yes to God’s call, and most of my ministry has been many hours away from them. Pastors and other staff leave home, family and friends to answer the call. They often feel isolated.

When I said yes to whatever God wants, I was led to this passage for my calling:

16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. (Acts 26:16 NIV)

Be a witness. Whatever it takes show God’s love through Christ. How can your class help inspire and encourage servants who choose to follow God’s call in ministry? Here are a few ideas:

1. Pray daily for them. Have you ever asked your pastor or staff how to be praying for them this week? Often we are bringing prayer requests to them, but need to reciprocate. If you are a class with senior adults, your homebound would like to be included! Some of my best prayer warriors were former class members that could no longer join us. I would take them a special prayer list, and they were thankful to be involved.

2. Encourage the family. Remember Birthdays, wedding anniversaries and special transitions like moving into High School or graduations. You called the pastor and staff, but their families came with them. Children especially feel lost the first year coming to a new church where they lost friends and family. Send cards and more to show your appreciation. They need to know that they are appreciated as well.

3. Serve! What would happen if you came to the Pastor or staff and asked, how can I best serve the church this week? They might faint!! We are all ministers! Take on roles that may seem simple, but will greatly help the staff. It may be moving furniture for a wedding, a fellowship event as a chaperone for camp or something else. You will encourage them in major ways!

4. Provide appreciation at appropriate times. One of my former churches was not able to meet all of our financial needs but provided fresh vegetables in the Summer, and other surprises! On my birthday in June, they gave a love offering to meet vacation needs. In December, they gave another love offering to help meet Christmas gifts for family. Perhaps your class could do a gift card to their favorite restaurant or another place. Perhaps you want to do something for them on their anniversary at the church? Perhaps you want to do something on Clergy Appreciation Day in October? We are all trying to serve God the best we can. Staff sacrificially give in ways that we cannot fully comprehend. Let them know you care.

About tonystopic

Seeker and connector to the abundant life as a husband (to Katrina), father (to Tara & Joseph) and Field Strategist/Sunday School Specialist for the Virginia Baptist Mission Board.
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