No one in Seventh-day Adventist churches, besides the pastor, has more influence than an elder. Who better, then, to provide insight into the best ways to support our pastors? With that in mind, OUTLOOK editor Martin Weber asked each president of Mid-America’s six local conferences to select two elders—one from a larger church and another from a smaller church—who represent the excellence and spirituality of their calling. Eleven responded to our request for an interview. In this nine-part series, these elders share their wisdom on how to make pastoral appreciation a practical, year-round experience in our churches.
OUTLOOK: What is the best thing a congregation can do to show support for their pastor?
Nigel Abrahams (Lifesource Adventist Fellowship, Denver, CO): Making time to be present and actively involved in the ministries of the church is without a doubt an extremely effective way of showing support for your pastor. As it turns out, it also offers a few opportunities to be blessed yourself. You could call this a “win-win scenario”.
JoAnn Arnold (Bismarck, ND): First, to be responsible and facilitate the work of the church. Everyone needs to get involved in the goals of the church and make outreach and evangelism happen, as it takes all of us finish the Lord’s work before he returns.
Steve Bascom (Gutherie Center, IA): Be willing to change and try something different even if “we have never done it that way before.”
Joe Bates (Aitkin, MN): Bring him people to baptize.
Alan Brass (Colorado Springs Central, CO): PRAY, PRAY, PRAY. All pastors are under continual assault. To pray is not a very visible way to show support, but it is the most effective. A visible way is to always show the pastor your best smile.
Bobby Franklin (Claremont, Pueblo, CO): Cooperation.
Jenni Glass (New Haven, Kansas City, KS): I think the best way a congregation can show support for their pastor is to do things throughout the year, not just during Pastor Appreciation Month. The possibilities are endless, simple things like baby-sitting, dinner, a quick email to say hello and most importantly, PRAY for your pastor(s).
Michael Kelsey (St. Louis Central, MO): Get active! Pastors are always willing to do too much—it’s a characteristic of the calling. Getting in the trenches too energizes them, encourages them, and shares the load.
Gina Olberg (Andover, MN): I think to regard our pastor as a fellow human being saved by grace. And to also regard his wife and children as part of our church family, not to be judged any differently than any other family—with love and respect in the Lord.
Merlin Wehling (Kearney, NE): Be their friend!!!
Kathy Widicker (Bowdon Country Church, ND): A kind word of encouragement at an opportune time is priceless.
For more questions and comments from local church elders click here.