10 Ways for Pastors to Express Their Love for Their Congregation

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I know some churches are problem churches with difficult people, but I’ve not experienced that kind of church. Pam and I have grown to love every church we’ve served, whether as pastor, interim pastor, or lay leader. God’s people are really special, and I want them to know I love them. If you’re a pastor, here are some ways you might express your love for them:

  1. Tell them. Too often, churches just have to assume we love them because we never tell them—or, we tell them only when we think we’re obligated (like Pastor Appreciation Month). Tell them regularly how much you love them. You won’t regret doing it.
  2. Thank them. Most of our churches have deeply committed laypersons who serve faithfully without any need for recognition. That, however, is exactly why we need to say “thank you” to them. Write some notes. Make some phone calls. Send some texts or instant messages. Show your love by your gratitude.
  3. Come to the pulpit having spent time with God and His Word. So be with God in your preparation that your church comes to a worship service believing they will hear from God. Love them enough to take your sermon preparation seriously.
  4. Write positive things about them. I’m speaking here about church newsletters, blogs, churchwide texts, bulletin announcements, etc. Whenever you have opportunity to put in print your love for your church, do it.
  5. Speak positively about them to others. Frankly, it’s easy to claim to love our church while also talking negatively about them to other pastors or friends. That’s not love. Your church will know you love them when they hear how supportively you speak about them to others.
  6. Disciple them from the pulpit and within personal relationships. One of the most loving things we can do is seriously help our congregation become more Christlike. That doesn’t “happen” just because we have church on Sunday, however; it takes loving intentionality and strategizing.
  7. Genuinely pray for them—and remind them you are. I’ve known pastors who monthly sought prayer requests from each family, prayed for them, and let the members know when they had prayed. That approach takes a lot of effort, but it’s worth it.
  8. Surprise them with a “Church Appreciation Month.” Each week of the month, honor them. Send them a surprise “I love you” video greeting. Write a blog post or newsletter article telling them why you love them. Who knows—you might start a trend!
  9. Spend time with them. I realize you’ll likely need to fight for balance in your life when your calendar is already full, but don’t hide in your church office in the name of “study.” Your presence among your congregation speaks of your love.
  10. Don’t fall. If you really want to show your love to your church, be godly and faithful to the end. Don’t let your church join the list of those wounded by a fallen pastor they loved.

What would you add to this list?

*This blog was originally published November 2021 at

  • Church
  • Pastoral Ministry
  • Pastoring
Chuck Lawless

Director of the Center for Preaching and Pastoral Leadership

Dr. Chuck Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions, Dean of Doctoral Studies, and Vice-President for Spiritual Formation and Ministry Centers at Southeastern Seminary, in addition to serving as Team Leader for Theological Education Strategists for the International Mission Board. He previously served as a Vice-President for Global Theological Advance for the IMB. Prior to that, he was dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism at Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY, where he also served as Vice President for Academic Programming and the Director of Professional Doctoral Studies. He received a B.S. degree from Cumberland College and M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees from Southern Seminary. He is the author of eight works, including “Membership Matters,” and “Spiritual Warfare,” and has contributed numerous articles to denominational periodicals. He and his wife Pam have been married for over 25 years and reside here in Wake Forest, NC.

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