Browsing: Pastor Appreciation

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Leadership Is Ministry Staff Appreciation

Laurie KennedyYour Pastor’s heart contains a prayer and desire that everyone would be spiritually in tune with our Heavenly Father, as well as each other in the church and community. As we close our annual focus on Pastor Appreciation, here are 18 ideas that you can and should do to make your Pastor’s heart smile. Making your Pastor’s role easier is to all of our benefit.

  • Make it a habit to pray both privately and in public for your Ministry staff.
  • Smile, enjoy and show with your comments and attitude how much you appreciate your church.
  • Eliminate gossip and complaining from your conversation.
  • Encourage your family, neighbors and work associates about how much you appreciate your Ministry staff.
  • Develop friendships with your Pastor’s family.
  • Enjoy and really enjoy your area of ministry within the church.
  • Honestly read God’s word and share your learning with others.
  • Hold hands with your spouse in church.
  • Build your marriage and ensure it is strong and growing.
  • Take your leadership role at church seriously and do your very best.
  • Be generously enthusiastic about your church.
  • Share prayer requests with your Pastor and be sure to also share the answers
  • Apologize for your personal mistakes and resolve conflicts Biblically.
  • Learn to be a great neighbor demonstrating God’s love at home and especially at work.
  • Ministry resignations are similar to those in the secular world. Leaders rarely leave because of the organization, they typically leave because of the people.  Be sure you talk positively and encouraging to your Ministry staff.
  • Learn to read the ‘fabric’ of your church and community, then be a positive part of the mosaic.
  • Be prayerfully concerned for the spiritual and neighborhood life of your community.
  • Develop meaningful relationships with your Ministry staff within the church and the community.

Leadership is … praying for and with your Pastoral Staff.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
Jethro Group

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Leadership Is Healthy Pastors

Laurie KennedyJethro Group recognizes October as Pastor Appreciation Month

I love working with Pastors. I coach some and consult with others and their Boards. It is my prayer that our Pastors, Churches and Leaders would be healthy in their relationship with our Heavenly Father, with each other and would work to demonstrate God’s love to our world.

We need to care for our Pastors on a continual basis. Note the following example from our Home Bible Study and our Pastor’s response.

Char and I have had the very unique privilege of leading Home Bible Studies over the past 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. A couple of times each year, the topic of supporting our Pastor would come up for discussion. Someone would ask how our Pastor and his wife were doing.  Others would comment on how they were blessed, encouraged or challenged by something Pastor said on Sunday. Others would illustrate something from a recent church meeting. Others pointed out a hospital or shut in visit. We’d talk, share and in addition to our group prayer issues, we’d pray for our Pastor and his family. I would typically end the discussion by pointing out that it is great to share our appreciation and to pray. However, it would be neat if everyone in our group would make a card, send a letter or email just to encourage our Pastor.

Fascinating, each time we shared what happened, Pastor Allen would call or email me and illustrate in his words, “it was an amazing coincidence to get 10 cards of appreciation in three days”. Wow! We made his day and week. The cards would all be signed expressing our appreciation for Pastor Allen and Suzanne. Hmm! As Pastor Allen would put it: “It made my whole week.”

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

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

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
Jethro Group

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Leadership Is Praying For Your Leaders

Laurie Kennedy“Our age is so quarrelsome that regardless of the matter we focus on, someone or other will cast stones at us and speak evil of our efforts…we have a difficult generation to deal with.” (Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor 1860)

Leadership is challenging. Servant Leadership is required to deal with the tragedy of violence and fear. Yet, fear and challenge are obviously not limited to our age. Leadership disillusionment, challenge and fear can be overwhelming. We preach, teach and counsel that Christ came to give life, abundant and eternal, yet we live in a world where “the thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. (John 10:10 NIV)

In my travels, I’m often asked who cares for the care givers. It is a good question. “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NIV) Leadership results are never achieved in a vacuum. The leadership team, the prayer warriors and followers need to share the credit and responsibility.

At the Jethro Group, we recognize October as Pastor Appreciation month. This is the month to do something special and unique for your Ministry staff. The cost is not the point. The goal is to recognize, support and encourage your Ministry staff.

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.

During this Pastor Appreciation month, Char and I will express our tremendous thanks to the three very special Pastoral couples who minister in our church.

Leadership is … praying for and supporting your Ministry staff.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
Jethro Group

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Leadership Is Pastor Appreciation

Laurie KennedyPastor Appreciation month is recognized at the Jethro Group.

My wife Char and I have had the most awesome week.  We took our three Pastors and their wives for lunch. We talked, thanked and encouraged these awesome couples for their dedication, their love for our Lord and their service to our church and community. We congratulated them on their work, their relationship and their families.

As a church member, a friend and a leadership coach, what is my most important role? Coaching is important. Leadership blogging is important. Connecting with leaders in 60 countries each week is important. However, all of this pales in comparison to praying for the Pastors, leaders and missionaries we work with.

  • Ask your Pastor how you can pray for him.
  • Take your Pastor out for lunch and don’t talk church.
  • Remind your Pastor how the Ministry has assisted you during a challenging time.
  • Encourage your Pastor’s wife to be herself and to volunteer, not as per your expectations. but as our Lord leads.
  • Talk to your church Treasurer to be sure your Pastor’s salary is consistent with the local cost of living and other Pastors of similar role and size of church.
  • Offer to start a congregational care ministry.
  • Go the extra mile in your area of ministry responsibility.
  • Ask your pastor to recommend someone who can mentor you.
  • Love your family.
  • Give your Pastor time away for intentional sermon prep and rest.
  • Become a peacemaker to take the weight of conflict off your pastor’s shoulders
  • Treat your pastor as you treat your other friends
  • Remember birthdays with a personal card or on social media.

Leadership is praying daily for your Pastor and family.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
Jethro Group

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Leadership Is Pastor Appreciation Month

Laurie KennedyPastor Appreciation month is recognized at the Jethro Group.

As a Leadership Coach I work with Pastors and churches. I assist with Vision Discovery, recruiting, organizational development, mentoring, writing and a lot of coaching. However, in terms of priorities or return on investment these pale in comparison to my most important role.

October is Pastor Appreciation month. This is our time to do something unique for the Ministry Staff in our church. We value each one. We care for them and we know that appreciation is the best way to ensure their emotional health and work effectiveness.

  • Teens, volunteer to wash your Pastor’s car at the church
  • Pray for your Ministry staff.
  • Call the church and offer to volunteer
  • Talk about what you learned at church with your family and friends.
  • Offer to child sit your Pastor’s kids so they can go out alone.
  • Call ahead and see what night and what kind of pizza you can have delivered.
  • Bring a home cooked meal during a busy time at the church.
  • Give your Pastor a bookstore gift card.
  • Make a card, drop it off at the church, just because you care.
  • Give generously of your time and resources.
  • Encourage your people to leave notes and cards in a basket in the foyer during Pastor Appreciation month.
  • Teens, offer to mow the Pastor’s lawn when he is on holidays.

“And now, friends, we ask you 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 5:13 MSG)

Leadership is ensuring your servant attitude is felt by your pastoral staff.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
Jethro Group

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