Browsing: Pastor Appreciation

Leadership Is… Praying For Your Pastor #315

Today we conclude our annual Pastor Appreciation focus.

Each of our churches has the potential to change our world for Christ. We can all agree on the Biblical intent here.  However, the health of your church is dependent on a unique and highly complex component. We call it the brains of the organization. Depending on this unique leadership engineering, your church will grow, drift into neutral or shrink. This marvelous component of leadership is so critical that its health mirrors that of your church. Without this unique component, your church thrives or dies.

 “Your job as a leader is to use your love of your own work to light the passion in others who share this love.” (Crossland & Clarke. The Leaders Voice)

Your Ministry team is the highly technical and complex component that keeps your church healthy.

Paul encourages us to, “Honor those leaders who work so hard for you, who have been given the responsibility of urging and guiding you along in your obedience. Overwhelm them with appreciation and love!” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 MSG)

Here are two awesome but simple ideas to close with.

During Sunday morning service, smile, listen, be involved and really enjoy the service.

Ask your Ministry staff how you can pray for them.

Leadership is … ensuring your Ministry staff know that you care for them.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach

ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is… Pastor Support #314

A three legged stool is strong, but less than helpful when missing a leg. In supporting our Pastors, I look for people who, like the three legged stool, consistently share three qualities. They are consistent in their prayer support, excited about volunteering within their giftedness and they go out of their way to encourage others.

“Being a Pastor is a tough, demanding job, one that is not always very well understood or appreciated. Pastoral work is more complex than that which transpires in the hour or two a week that many lay people see the pastor in action…” (Burns, Chapman and Guthrie, Resilient Ministry)

Returning to my church office one day I spotted $18,000 worth of Pastoral encouragement on the sidewalk. Blue suede color with chrome highlights, crossover dual exhaust, slash mufflers, two cylinder 3500 rpm achieving a clean 45 mpg. Our visiting Pastor told us with great enthusiasm how his church gave his Youth Pastor and himself matching Harley Davidson touring motorcycles on Pastor Appreciation Sunday. This church invested $36,000 in Ministry encouragement. Now, the point is not the money and not the motorcycles. The beautiful point is every time these two Pastors ride to work, take a weekend tour or re-tell the story, they are reminded how much they love and are loved by their people. 

I haven’t bought any of our Pastors a Hawg lately, but it is a dramatic illustration of what people working together can do to collectively show their Ministry staff their love and appreciation.

I have the privilege of meeting and praying with our Pastor every other Wednesday. We pray, share, laugh and sometimes and cry as we seek God’s plan for our church and community.

Leadership is … ensuring your Ministry staff know that you care for them.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is… Loving Being A Pastor’s Wife #313

Guest blog from Bradyn Schellenberg.

“What’s it like being a pastor’s wife?”

On my best days, when I feel God’s love strongly and appreciate the blessings he’s given, I am so grateful for the privilege it is to be a pastor’s wife. However, life is not full of “best days”. In short, I’d say that being in ministry is difficult, demanding and draining BUT tremendously rewarding.

The long answer entails so much more. Being a pastor’s wife isn’t like anything I’ve ever experienced before. Like my entrance into motherhood, it started in a way that I could have never fully prepared myself for. As a mom-to-be, I read books, blogs and heard from other moms about the sleepless nights, the temper tantrums, the overwhelming love you feel when you meet your baby for the first time, but no amount of preparation, no amount of baby proofing the house or bulk diaper buying beforehand, could have prepared me for what was to come.  In the same way, I wasn’t prepared in advance to be a pastor’s wife. Jesse and I were a couple years into marriage. He was working in the business world and was very successful in climbing the corporate ladder. I was working full time as a teacher – loving the community I found among my teacher friends. This lasted for a time and then Jesse said to me one day that he wanted to start taking some seminary classes. The next thing we know, we’re invited to a church in another community where Jesse takes on his first job as a real life pastor. It all happened so fast and much of our experience was kind of unexpected, but God orchestrated it all and his timing is so perfect. Just like my entrance into motherhood, my step into life as a pastor’s wife is all about the learning along the way.

The work that my husband and I are in is more than an occupation, it’s a lifestyle. Some might read this and think, “Wait, isn’t it just your husband who works for the church?” To that question, I would answer, yes, Jesse works for the church, however we share a unique calling together. My husband, Jesse doesn’t exactly punch his time card at the end of the day and head for home, turning all areas of work out of his mind. No, in ministry you’re always on. Phone calls can come in all hours of the day. People still need help, direction, prayer, a listening ear. Jesse will jump back into his car after coming home and will head over to the hospital to be with people who are sick or dying. We open up our home regularly to people from all walks of life, some strong in the faith and others weary and with questions. Among all these circumstances, I have the joy of seeing my husband flourish in a calling he’s realized and followed.  The part I play in this calling is this: I have the responsibility and concern of helping hold up his weary arms when ministry is hard, to encourage him and be excited with him when ministry is bright, to listen, to love, to take care of our family, and to be his constant companion and helper in this ‘together calling’. 

The thing is, despite the busy and exhausting lifestyle we live, I thank God for the call that he has placed on our lives, and for the constant learning along the way. I’m proud of how hard Jesse works to serve the people God has entrusted to him to lead and shepherd. I love being a pastor’s wife and I am privileged to be a part of the ministry of the church.

Leadership is … the joy of sharing a calling

Yours in Service,

Bradyn Schellenberg
Guest Blogger
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is… Delivered Personally #312

I just hand delivered a letter to our Pastor. You may want to consider what you can and should give or share with your Pastor during this Ministry Appreciation month. Think about a letter, a gift card, a free evening of Child sitting, a car wash, a book, or something your Ministry leaders would appreciate.

“Interacting with many Pastors… has convinced me that the river they are crossing is often treacherous and the means are rather primitive.” (Glenn C. Taylor, Pastors in Transition) My personal experience counselling and working with Pastors confirmed their lives can be awesome or treacherous or at any point in between.

“The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.” (1 Timothy 5:17 NIV)

Appreciate your pastoral leaders who gave you the Word of God. Take a good look at the way they live, and let their faithfulness instruct you, as well as their truthfulness. There should be a consistency that runs through us all. For Jesus doesn’t change—yesterday, today, tomorrow, he’s always totally himself.” (Hebrews 13: 7-9 MSG)

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28 NIV)

Pastor, we are thankful for you and your family. We pray for you daily.

Leadership is … ensuring your Ministry staff know they are loved and cared for.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is… Pastor Appreciation #311

Jethro Group recognizes October as Pastor Appreciation Month

I love working with Pastors. Every Pastor I know needs prayer, encouragement and team support. My daily prayer is that our Pastors, Churches and leaders are healthy, growing in their relationship with our Heavenly Father and working to demonstrate God’s love to our world.

We need to care for our Ministry staff on a continual basis. We’ve hired them and we trust them to lead and care for us.

Char and I have had the very unique privilege of leading Home Bible Studies for many years. Each week we would read scripture, follow a devotional book, pray for each other and work to be active supporters of our church and community. A couple of times each year, the topic of supporting our Pastor would come up for discussion. Someone would ask how our Pastor and family were doing.  Others would illustrate or comment on how they were blessed, encouraged or challenged by something shared on Sunday. Others would share a recent church meeting, a hospital or shut in visit. We’d talk, pray for our Ministry staff and their families. I would typically end the discussion by pointing out that it is great to share our appreciation and to pray. However, it would be awesome if everyone in our group would make a card, send a letter or email just to encourage our Pastor.

Fascinating, our Pastor would call or email me the next week.  In his words, “it was an amazing coincidence to get 10 cards of appreciation in three days”. We made his day and whole week.

Now, just imagine the impact if every Home Bible study would pick a week to encourage each of their Ministry staff.

Your church demonstrates your love for God and His bride (the church) by how you care for and support your Ministry staff.

I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.” (Jeremiah 3:15 NIV)

Leadership is … appreciating your Pastor and confirming it with a note.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is… God Calling a Youth Pastor #297

God called me into youth ministry, on a yellow school bus, when I was 14 years old.

When I was in grade 7 my dad organized a “family meeting.” Family meetings are never particularly good. Usually they are grand announcements of impending doom or disappointment.

In this particular case my dad announced that we would be moving to McLennan Alberta. Up until that point Red Deer was the only city I knew and I had really enjoyed growing up there.

McLennan is a small town of 400 people approximately 4 hours north of Edmonton. I affectionately refer to it as a “hole in the ground.” Every school day my brother, sister and I would get on a yellow school bus and travel from our home outside of McLennan, through McLennan into a village called Donnelly. (I’m not making this up these are real names.)

In Donnelly we would attend a school of almost 600 kids and, as far as I could tell, we were the only people who did not grow up there. It seemed like everyone was somehow related and none of us were cousins of anyone in the school.

Therefore, I got picked on.

A lot.

My only saving grace and solace was the acreage we lived on. It had amazing places we could visit and forested areas I could hide in. I would get lost in those forests for hours.

The other thing that kept me sane was a youth group in a town called High Prairie that my Dad would drive us to every Friday night. Finally, there were kids I knew who had the same values as we did and worshipped the same God. I am fairly certain that if it hadn’t been for that youth group in High Prairie I probably would have left the church and Christianity altogether.

So, after a particularly hard day at school, with bullying at its peak I found myself angry, really angry. I’m on the long ride home on that same yellow school bus that I’m on every day. I’ve got my head pressed forward into the seat in front of me and I’m fuming. I remember being frustrated with my situation and asking God questions like, “Why did we have to move here?” Just plain telling God, “I hate this place.” The thing I remember most clearly about this day is that I asked God, “Why are kids in small towns so mean?”

… and I heard his response.

It wasn’t audible it was in my head but it was clearly God.

He said, “there is no one who loves teenagers in small towns.”

I knew what he meant. He did not mean that parents or grandparents don’t love teenagers. He did not mean that teachers don’t love teenagers. God was telling me that there needed to be more youth pastors in small towns. From that moment I knew my calling, God was asking me to become a youth pastor. (Excerpted from Chet Kennedy, Broken Mortals)

Leadership is … listening and looking for God’s call.

Yours in Service,

Chet Kennedy

Son of: Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is… Appreciating Your Pastor #292

You have a business. It has tremendous potential for success. Your product has the power to change our world. You have history on your side, experience is positive and the market potential is beyond imagination. Your business idea is relatively free for the asking and leads people to change their lives. You even have testimonies from individuals whose lives have been changed.

This business of yours is highly complex and diverse. You could compare it to the human body. When everything works together, it is healthy and finely tuned. You can accomplish great things and have the potential to work for a lifetime. However, there is a qualifier: this new venture of yours is totally dependent on a unique and highly complex component. You call it the brains of the organization. The organization, organism if you prefer, will grow, lead into neutral or shrink, based on this unique engineering. This marvelous piece of technology is so critical that if it breaks down, your business breaks down. Further, without this unique piece of equipment, your business dies. OK, you get the picture. As this piece of equipment thrives, so does your organization.

You value and appreciate this critical piece of machinery and know it needs to be properly maintained. It needs long term scrutiny, oiling and replacing of worn parts. You’ll want to ensure good quality subcomponents to keep your business operating successfully for years to come. Remember, your business grows, stays in neutral or dies depending on this marvelous piece of equipment. You have a couple of options to consider.

Enough illustration. I have your attention. In this fictional illustration, your Pastoral staff represent the highly technical and complex component that keeps your church alive. We need to do everything we can to ensure their effectiveness.

“Honor those leaders who work so hard for you who have been given the responsibility of urging and guiding you along to your obedience. Overwhelm them with appreciation and love!” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 MSG)

Dear Pastors, we love and appreciate you.

Leadership is, caring for your Pastor

Yours in Service,
Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is Appreciating Others #263

Laurie KennedyThe Jethro Group recognizes Pastors each October.

I wrote and hand delivered three letters today. Now three letters isn’t a big deal. I send and respond to hundreds each week.

Today’s letters were different, they were personal, hand delivered and contained a gift card.

We attend a medium sized church with a weekend attendance of 300. We pray for each of our ministry staff. As a Deacon, part of my role is to pray and communicate with our staff and a percentage of our people. We attend an amazing Life Group each week. I chair a small committee looking to lead our Board, Deacons and people toward our Vision, Mission and Values for the next ten years. We love our church

Back to my three letters.

My research and experience with Pastors confirms they give of themselves, talk and share on a continual basis, but they rarely take or are offered the time for someone to listen, really listen to them. They have friends, but their closest friends are other Pastors. Friends within the church often means they are church dependent. Pastors worry about losing their church friends and relationships due to a Sunday sermon series that is delivered well but goes nowhere.

My role as a friend is to listen, and share about church and non-church activities while reinforcing our Pastors in their work. I encourage them in their prayer life and the very positive health of our church.

My three hand delivered letters were individually written. They were focused on each individual Pastor on the four points of: thank you for all you do, we appreciate you, pray for you and feel free to call when you need anything.

And now, friends, we ask you to honour those leaders who work so hard for you, who have been given the responsibility of urging and guiding you along in your obedience. Overwhelm them with appreciation and love!” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 MSG)

Happy Ministry Staff appreciation month from the Jethro Group.

Leadership is praying for and supporting our Pastors and Ministry Leaders world-wide.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is Picking Up The Gauntlet #260

I love being the wife of a man who is a pastor. I distinctly remember a time as a young person deciding that being married to a pastor lacked calling, distinction, passion, or imagination plus it scared me to death! Certainly not what I wanted for my life. I had dreams of serving my Lord as a teacher on a mission field with an equally zealous man.

Mission accomplished! Teacher…check! Missionary…check! Man with Godly zeal… check!

My life was being played out as I had prayed and planned full of calling, distinction, passion, and imagination!  Living the dream… my dream.

Then God moved.

And my husband felt God’s call to, you guessed it, the pastorate. Wow! Without even consulting me!! My perfect dream… poof! Lord, why?

Well…suffice to say, I struggled for much of our first years in pastoral ministry. I fought (first loudly, then quietly) and resented God’s trajectory for our life. I remember one particular conversation I had with Father. I said with fear, “But, Lord, what if it all goes south? What if taking this pastorate leaves us hurting and wounded, Lord?” I remember the Holy Spirit whispering to me, “Will you trust me even if it does?” It was a gauntlet of love thrown.

“Will you, Wendy?”

I picked it up.

Fast forward ten years to today. I had chuckled much like Sarah did upon hearing about Isaac… the sweet, redeeming, irony of the Creator’s plans. Today, with joy, I see my life, as if I’m watching from the best theatre box seat owned by the Great KING himself and I, His child. I sit beside Him, front and center, watching and responding to an epic story of His creation and created ones. He shows me things too marvelous for words. He urges me to respond with gladness or tears. He moves me and outfits me with love towards His people. He compels me to engage Him on behalf of His people by standing in the gap by prayer. Where I sit as a partner in my husband’s ministry, I have the privilege to see and experience by His invitation God’s redemptive work first hand. This is such a beautiful gift, one filled with calling, distinction, passion and full of scope for the imagination.

Why do I love being the wife of a pastor?  I love the view from the front row seats.

Leadership is picking up the gauntlet of love.

Our Guest Blogger, Mrs. Wendy Fletcher, is a skilled Puppeteer, Drama and Children’s Director, wife of Rev. Mike Fletcher at Drumheller Fellowship Baptist Church and the mother of three dynamic grown children. It has been my privilege to call them friends for the last 15 years.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is A Thriving Pastor #259

Laurie Kennedy“Protestant clergy have the highest overall work-related stress and are next to the lowest in having personal resources to cope with the occupational strain.” (Journal of Clinical Psychology, Resilient Ministry by Bob Burns, Tasha D. Chapman and Donald C. Guthrie)

The Jethro Group, under our Vision of “Healthy Leaders: Leading, Serving and Caring with Integrity”, focuses on Pastors every October. Your Pastor is one of those very unique individuals who leads and cares. With the right support, Pastors have the potential to achieve phenomenal change in our families, our churches and communities for God’s glory.

It is a privilege to laugh, pray and cry with Pastors. My work includes everything from recruiting, training, encouraging, caring, advising through difficulties, discipline and counselling out.

As a leader, ask yourself how often you:

  • Listen, really listen for your Pastor’s heart.
  • Pray consistently for your Pastor.
  • Defend your Pastor when others criticize.
  • Talk to your kids about what you learned from your Pastor.
  • Give your Pastor a gift card.
  • Tell your Pastor what you learned from Scripture this week.
  • Talk with your Pastor about demonstrating God’s love at your work.
  • Encourage your Pastor for their involvement in the community that you both live in.
  • Remember that your Pastor is human and has good days and challenging ones.
  • Ask your Pastor about their Spiritual Gifts and their dreams for your church.
  • Remember that your Pastor hears, deals with and carries the challenges of many people.
  • Ask your Pastors what keeps them awake at night, then agree to pray for and with them.
  • Ask your Pastor to pray with you for the individual that you are mentoring.

“Give a bonus to leaders who do a good job, especially the ones who work hard at preaching and teaching.” Scripture tells us, “Don’t muzzle a working ox” and “A worker deserves his pay.” (1 Timothy 5:17-18 MSG)

Leadership is supporting your Ministry staff to accomplish God’s Vision.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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