In the summer of 1999, I was a junior in high school. It was a typical summer like most in Ohio – hot, humid, and full of possibilities. Mid-Summer I went to a high school conference, with my youth group.

During the entire week, I had this sense that maybe I should consider being a pastor and go into full time ministry. This was a weighty moment for any high school student. At the end of the week, I made this private decision a public proclamation to over 100 students and youth leaders that made up my youth group.

The journey began.

Over the last eight years, I’ve come into that reality of “Pastor.” It’s one of the greatest rhythms to life and also one of the most heart breaking; many times all in the same day.

I’ve been given permission to see many things:

Over 100 students and parents baptized, dads raising their level of home leadership because they are investing in the church, students repenting for being to religious and judgmental towards their friends, middle schoolers raising enough money to build a church in a far country, and discussing life with some of my dearest friends.

I’ve always been given permission to see stories that my eyes could only tell. I’ve held parents as they received news that their child passed away. There have been to many funerals where students thought suicide was the only way out. I’ve watched incredible parents take one to many beatings from life and walk away from the church.

At 17, I had no idea what I was saying yes too. I just wanted to help.


You may not be familiar with this. It’s likely your pastor(s) do not want to call attention to themselves. It’s the self-deprecating part of pride. I get it. I used to feel the same way.

Here’s the deal.

You and I both know that when life hits the fan, they are there for us. They put in 40-60 “work hours.” Who knows how many emotional hours go into them praying for you, calling on you, texting you, catching a sporting event for one of your kids, etc.

Some ways to say, “Thanks!”

If you’re a parent

  1. Write a thank-you note with a gift card that they would enjoy. (not a christian bookstore)
  2. Offer to watch their kids for an evening and pay for whatever date you want to send them on.
  3. Text them periodically how much you appreciate them.
  4. If your child is in youth ministry, provide a gas card for the wife. She can use this when her husband is on one of his countless trips.

If you’re a volunteer or and elder 

  1. MAKE them take off a Sunday and find someone to preach or teach for that person. I don’t know of a better way to say a VALUE STATEMENT than to let the whole church know you are giving your staff or senior pastor a Sunday off.
  2. Offer a 48 hour retreat spot.
  3. For the wife, provide a way for manicures and pedicures.
  4. Have your church or parents provide a ton of gift cards for their respected pastor (age of child). Every day, for the next several days, drop them off at the office and tell them thank you. They will wonder if it’s Christmas.
  5. During the summer, Have a big cook out for their family. Youth and Children’s pastors would love this.

If Paul is correct, in Ephesians, than the bulk of the pastor’s work is not against flesh and blood, but against the things we can’t see, the things we ignore, and the things we need to pay attention too.

If you have better ideas, leave a comment so that others and myself may see.

We are the results of one another,



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