10 Surefire Ways to Encourage Your Pastor

Having enjoyed all 10 of these in my own 40 years of preaching, I can assure you, they really are ‘encouraging’!

The lofty expectations and burdensome demands upon the pastor of a local church can be overwhelming at times. Here are ten easy things you can do this Sunday to encourage your pastor and let him know that you care.

  1. Ask him what book of the Bible the church has been studying for the last three years. Pastors love it when you have no clue that he’s been faithfully preaching through the gospels for years even though you’ve been to almost every service. So make sure to ask him every Sunday, “What book are we in today?”
  2. Quietly change churches without letting anyone know. Hey, we get it. You’re not feeling fed. No problem. Pastors totally don’t take it personally when you move your membership to a different church with no notice or really any reason at all. Their demeanor might even be buoyed by your boldness.
  3. Call his sermon a “speech.” This is a really easy way to encourage your pastor, and it won’t take much effort on your part. Just a quick, “Great speech, brother” can lift a pastor’s spirits in no time.
  4. Make sure he knows you would be volunteering more if literally everything else weren’t more important to you. Every time you decline to serve the church in even the smallest way, tell the pastor that literally everything else is more important. Soccer games, the latest Nicholas Sparks movie, laundry day, or even just general apathy—a man of God loves hearing that all these things and more always take precedence over the body of Christ.
  5. Drop the F-bomb. A pastor who’s been trying to disciple you for a decade will surely be delighted to hear you drop the incidental F-bomb. If you’re not ready for this big of a step, any of the more common profanities will do.
  6. Write him an anonymous critical letter. There’s nothing more encouraging to a pastor who’s battling personal demons and fending off thoughts of depression and anxiety than a scathing rebuke you won’t even sign your name to.
  7. Make sure he knows he’s not John Piper. Oftentimes, pastors aren’t aware that they aren’t as good of a preacher as John Piper. They might even think they are John Piper himself. It’s really helpful to your pastor if you use phrases like, “You’re no John Piper, but that was still a pretty good speech” for double the encouragement.
  8. Belittle his wife. This almost goes without saying, but making sure the pastor is painfully aware of his wife’s failures and imperfections will help his own confidence levels immensely. Bonus encouragement points if you do it behind his back, but just loud enough for him to hear. Talk about strengthening a brother!
  9. Conk out in the front row. Pastors never feel more like a shepherd than when their flock is resting peacefully, especially when he’s right in the middle of an impassioned plea for attendees to repent and believe the gospel. Make sure to snore loudly to encourage those around you as well.
  10. Just tell him he’s worthless. If all else fails, just bluntly telling your pastor he doesn’t mean anything to you and his years of study and faithful service don’t matter in the slightest will surely see his faith in God skyrocket.

Bloggers and Their Vans

Individual Volumes of THE Commentary are now Available

The Commentary is comprised of 42 individual volumes and all together are available in electronic format for $199.  But not everyone is interested in every book of the Bible so after having received a number of requests for individual volumes in the series I’ve decided to offer any single volume for $5.

If you bought each volume individually it would cost $210 for the entire series in electronic form at $5 each, so it still makes sense to buy the whole.

But I’m happy to send each volume individually for those who prefer it.  Just paypal me $5 and tell me which you wish.  If you want two or three simply multiply each volume by $5.

And please remember, volumes are for your personal use only.  Distributing them to others is copyright infringement and quite frankly, theft.

Contra The Absurdity of Origen-ian/Barthian Universalism

To borrow a phrase from Luther’s hymn- ‘one little word shall fell them’

God’s righteousness stands like the mountains. He who withstands God must shatter himself upon God. This is the meaning of God’s wrath. Because God’s will is absolute obedience He therefore hates disobedience absolutely. He who persists in disobedience falls under the fearful wrath of God. That is the holy God. — Emil Brunner

A Recent Volume of Interest: GELD, KRIEG UND MACHT – Pensionsherren, Söldner und eidgenössische Politik in den Mailänderkriegen 1494–1516

This was referenced in the Companion to the Swiss Reformation and I thought I’d pass along word of it (as I had not heard of it before but it examines a tremendously interesting topic).

Die eidgenössischen Orte als Söldnerlieferanten und ihre Verwicklungen in die Kriege der Grossmächte in Italien stehen im Zentrum der aktuellen Debatte um die Schlacht von Marignano 1515. Philippe Roggers Studie liefert einen wichtigen Beitrag dazu, indem er aufzeigt, dass die Eidgenossenschaft bereits seit den Burgunderkriegen militärisch, politisch, ökonomisch und kulturell eng mit dem Ausland verflochten war.

Die dichten Beziehungsnetze der eidgenössischen Pensionsherren mit den Krieg führenden Fürsten und Königen hatten 1513 bis 1516 massive Untertanenproteste zur Folge. Verrat und Bestechlichkeit lauteten damals die Vorwürfe der Untertanen an die führenden Politiker. Trotz diesen Verwerfungen und der Niederlage bei Marignano blieb die Verflechtung der eidgenössischen Machteliten mit den auswärtigen Herren eng, insbesondere mit Frankreich.