I have known quite a few preachers over the years, whether they’ve been those who have preached at my home congregation, to preachers-in-training I went to university with who majored in Bible, to preachers I just happened to know through family and friends. The ages of the preachers I have met and/or known for a long time have varied across the board, but in my honest opinion, age doesn’t really matter as far as respecting the work they do is concerned. Sure, age may mean more experience, but the preachers I have known have all had the same goal: making sure that the Gospel is spread to whoever they have the pleasure of coming into contact with.

You may know quite a few preachers yourself for some of the same reasons I may have mentioned. Yes, they do a lot for the congregations they serve, and yes, they work hard to produce the sermons they preach, but how can you support them, especially as a member?

Talk to them and ask them questions.

A large reason for why preachers study is not just to preach from the pulpit, but also to communicate with and help fellow members of the flocks they preach for. Preachers absolutely love when you ask them questions about the Bible. It means that they get to take what they’ve spent years studying and use it to directly help them, which in turn is a blessing to you both. They can also apply personal experience to their advice for you.

Jesus was always willing to talk to those large crowds who followed Him. For example, He ministered to an entire crowd of people, even after He just stopped to rest (Matthew 14:13-14). He also was willing to teach using actions, like when He allowed children to draw near to Him (Matthew 19:13-15), and when he washed His disciples’ feet (John 13:1-20), just to name a few.

In short, Jesus desired that His people needed to be able to approach Him for any and every reason (Matthew 11:28). Since preachers make an effort to make themselves available to you, take them up on their assistance. You’ll – and they’ll – be glad you did.

Compliment their work, and if they ask for your critique or advice, offer it in love.

How do you feel when someone compliments you? Pretty great, right? If you liked a sermon, approach your preacher and let him know. A compliment or any positive comment will go a long, long way in encouraging them in their work, in turn encouraging them to study further and keep going in their efforts to share God’s message (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

However, if you do want to offer constructive criticism, do so in a loving manner (Ephesians 4:15). If you express your concerns or any questions in this way, the preacher you’re speaking to will be far more receptive and far more likely to address your comments. The most important thing is to be kind; after all, the preacher you just heard – regardless of he’s your regular or a guest preacher – worked hard to prepare the sermon he delivered to you and your church family.

Pray for them.

All prior things considered, the best way by far to support your preacher is to pray for them. Whether they know it or not, they certainly appreciate any support via prayer that you can give.

We are called to pray for our leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-4). Not only does this include our nation’s President, military, and even the elders of our churches, but also our preachers. They have a position of leadership in the church, and even though it’s not higher than Christ Himself (Ephesians 5:23), we still need to pray for them. Also, because preachers are in a teaching position within their congregations, they have a certain accountability with God because they are preaching His message, and it’s imperative that they must preach it truthfully (Titus 2:7-8).

So, not only do we need to pray that our preachers speak the truth – that they do so in love and with the best interest of the congregation at heart – but we also need to pray that they receive the comfort, support, and encouragement that comes from God and His people.

Having said all of this, we need to consider that we can talk to, ask questions of, compliment, and pray for our preachers, and we should feel like we can do so without hesitation.

Right now, I want to encourage you to think of your line of work, or anything that you’re extremely passionate about. How would you feel if someone not only took interest in that passion or work, but also encouraged you and prayed for you in your endeavors? Now, look at the other side of the proverbial coin: how would you feel if someone criticized your work or passions without some sort of constructive help or advice, and how would you feel if you were discouraged by the very people you were trying to help or benefit from the work you did?

Now, I am not a preacher, so I cannot totally speak on any preacher’s behalf. However, I feel like this is something we need to consider: it’s better to support, encourage, and pray for those whose goal in life is to encourage us to persevere onward to Heaven.

By Savannah Cottrell

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