A pastor opinion poll we did a few years ago tells the story of what pastors really desired in a ministerial director.
They did not want micro-managers or strong-armed connectivity making them feel like you are the boss. They did not want autocratic czars or constant pessimistic examples of the way it used to be for you.
They simply wanted someone to support them in consistent ways.
They wanted a provision of resources to help them flourish.
They wanted an accountability partner who would walk with them along the journey.
They wanted a spiritual shoulder to lean on.
They wanted a voice to speak up for them or at least to share their viewpoint.
They did not want a ministerial director with all the answers, all the time, but one who would be present in the fray of ministry.
In order to meet the needs of the pastors, we need to find natural ways to communicate, connect, share, and support.
Here a few suggestions.
1. You may be tempted to feel like more consistent communication with your pastors in a world already flooded by the loud techno-communication which includes 24-7 social media and news bytes is not essential. I would suggest the opposite is true. Communication done well is a key essential to our role in pastoral support.
Ask your pastors what is the best way to communicate with them. Ask about their preferred method, best time or day, type of device they use most, form of communication they use – texting, email, blog, social media, etc.
Use your communication to inform, influence, lead, encourage, share essentials, resource, and connect. When pastors only hear from you in a crisis, or have to guess what’s going on regarding conference issues, or have to hear through the grapevine, essential influence wanes.
2. Celebrate the celebrations in the pastor’s life. Celebrate anniversaries, birthdays, births, major accomplishments, milestones, etc. These will be celebrated by family and friends, why not join in to truly celebrate with them?
3. Coach and encourage pastors in their passions and giftedness. Focus on supporting the strengths and God-given abilities of pastors. Also, encourage pastors to train and equip parishioners in the same way. Give them assignments to enhance and grow their giftedness.
4. Connect with the support systems of pastors. Because of the demands and expectations on the minister’s family, connecting with their family can alleviate the false expectations of ministry placed on the family by others. In addition, through prayerful education of congregations, a real supportive ministry can be established in congregations all across our Division.
Finally, ministry becomes a lot simpler when we remember, it’s all about relationship. Relationship! Relationship! Relationship!