categories: church, communication, encouragement, relationships
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March 1st, 2010

by Craig Groeschel

15 comments (+ Add)

Letters from a Pastor

People in my church often ask me, “What can we do to help you?”

This week I’d like to dialog about how people can truly help and support their pastor. I’ll write from my perspective and would love to hear yours.

Your Words of Encouragement Matter

Dear Church,

Thank you so much for taking time to share how God is working in your life. Knowing that our ministry is making a difference is often all I need to keep going when I’d rather give up.

As your pastor, I’m way more “human” than I’d like to be. In my best moments, I’m fully convinced of God’s calling and presence. In my worst moments, I feel weak, insecure and totally ineffective as a Christian, much less the shepherd of a flock.

Just last week, one of you took the time to tell me how God has used our church to change your life for the better. I didn’t tell you, but on the inside I was wondering if my efforts mattered. God used your words to minister to me in a deep way.

Thanks so much for telling me how God is working in your life!

How has God used your church to minister to you?

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  1. Mar 1, 2010 at 7:52 am

    Every year I take time to write a letter of appreciation and encouragement to the congregation for the past year. It helps to mark the anniversary of my work with the congregation as well as communication towards our goals.

    This year I am stepping it up a notch and trying to send a letter each quarter. I did this in a previous congregation and found out it helps to communicate the message of hope and teamwork.

  2. Mar 1, 2010 at 8:22 am

    What is interesting to me on this is that I have been at a larger church that would throw money at me (so to speak) but never showed any other kind of care for me or my family. I do not think that it is because it is a larger church but just the mentality that they had. I am now at a smaller church that does not have the money the other church did but they take care of me in a much different way. We as a family are constatly getting little blessings of food, phone calls, emails, and other things checking in on us. They are always telling me vocally how glad they are that God has sent me here and how God is usng me in their lives. Very different when you contrast the two and to be honest I would rather have the care than the cash.

  3. 3Clif
    Mar 1, 2010 at 8:44 am

    It is nice to receive encouragement because far to often all we hear is criticism.

    Every year they do “Pastor Appreciation” which equals an offering and while money is always a blessing, it is when people take the time to write a letter/card to express how God has used me and my family to help them grow, get them through a tough time, take that next step, those are GOLD. They are the things I go back to in the tough times (which always come) to remind me that we are making a difference.

  4. Mar 1, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Dear Small Group,
    Thank you for taking me into your group and allowing me to be vulnerable. It’s been nearly a year since we began sharing. Last Sunday, for the first time in 36 years, I shared how my wife was struggling with cancer and being pregnant. You provided me with a loving atmosphere in which to share my innermost struggles about the survival of my wife and the danger of the pregnancy. Though I ended up losing both, my struggles were shaping forces in my life and cannot be forgotten or hidden under a basket. Thank you for allowing me to keep my life whole.
    Sincerely, Randy

  5. Mar 1, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Dear (Life)Church,

    I truly do not even know where to begin. I walked through your doors as an insecure shell of a person…I was at my lowest point and wondered daily the value of my own simple life. I had been Completely rejected by a group of other “Christians” and I doubted if God was really real. Was the church really something I could ever be a part of again? Was “Christianity” real or was the world right…Live hard…and die. Was church only “man made.”

    You took me in, I was very cautious. You met me where I was at, I took my time. You loved me regardless and you gently taught me to find my self and worth again which was found ONLY in God alone. You turned up the spiritual pilot light EVERY week in my broken heart and before I knew it…I was on fire again. I wanted more heat! more sparks! and I wanted to warm others with the same wildfire that I had been reunited with from my youth when I was on fire for GOD.

    You helped me embrace my imperfections and strive to be “super- NATURAL” not a “Super HUMAN/Christian”…you helped me see I want to be the the best me I can be and let others KNOW that God loves them for who THEY are (where THEY are)…period. You have come along side my husband and have showed him it is good and right to lead…(Not to mention…he loves the term “NIB” meetings he is forever thankful for that term…lol). You have embraced my family as your family. (hendersonville/okc/world/online) you may have started in a small garage but look at you now!!! That small step of faith is changing the “WALK” and “PATH” of thousands of lives FOREVER. Craig our family thanks you and your staff for all that God is doing through you…people ARE finding LIFE. Amen

  6. Mar 1, 2010 at 9:11 am

    Recently I have been serving as a supply pastor for a small church. My family and I have been literally blown away at their generosity and their outward expressions of love. I guess it has been refreshing to literally see the move of God amongst his people.

  7. Mar 1, 2010 at 10:34 am

    I am truly blessed to be part of a church that is seeing many come to faith in Christ. That alone keeps me going. In addition the kind expressions of God’s amazing life change that my people take time share are worth every battle and challenge I face. Just last week I got an email and here are just a few words that lifted my spirit, “For the first time in years we are actually excited about coming to church on Sundays - and so is our youngest son.”
    I just wished I could remember the blessings when I’m in the valley. So often I forget.

    Craig — thanks to you. You mean so much to Church at the Falls. Your recent expression of love to our church and to me was so appreciated. Craig, you are making a huge difference in our lives.

  8. Mar 1, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Dear Life Church,
    I don’t know where we would begin to say thank you! Would we say thanks for over 170 people who have come to Christ in the last two years or for the many more who have recommitted their lives, or for the many baptisms. People’s stories have broken our hearts: the meth manufacturer that is now leading a recovery life group, the 25 year old who sold prescription drugs for years who now brews coffee every week for the host team, the couples whose marriages were in shambles that have been restored, a youth who was so obnoxious but is now so in love with Jesus no one can believe the change. We give God the glory for the countless lives that have been changed because you allow us to use your teaching and materials. It amazes us how a sermon, sometimes even recorded, can reach into the heart of the men and women in our church. That the messages come just at the right moment, just at the right time and reach just the right people.
    Thank you for all you give to our church. Thank you for the many people at Life Church who we called upon for help, assistance and guidance. Thanks to all the people behind the scenes. Thank you for allowing us to be part of this awesome move of God’s Spirit. We are humbled daily by this opportunity and it would not exist without your dedicated staff members.

  9. Mar 2, 2010 at 1:19 am

    A few years ago I went through one of the most traumatic events in my life. I isolated myself and even questioned the call of God on my own life. I was ready to throw in the towel and give up on God all together. But my church stood by my side to help me get through this…it wasn’t just talk. Their love and support helped me get back up on my feet and now I’m serving God with a greater passion more than ever. If it wasn’t for the love of my local church…I don’t think I’d be serving God today

  10. 11Sherrye
    Mar 2, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Craig, I can’t believe my pastor ever doubts himself, it helps though to show how human we all are and how weak we all are without Jesus. There are soo many lives changed through that I don’t ever doubt that you are meant to be the pastor of our church and you are doing a fabulous job!
    I do sometimes wish that our church was a bit smaller so I could really know your family personally or at all b/c having 4 kids I can really relate to another family with several kids and would love to seek advise from another mom like Amy on how she does what she does.

    However, I can’t wait to get to church each Sunday to hear what you have to say and be challenged! I know lives are being changed at my campus. I work in the baby nursery and a few weeks ago after one of our several snow storms this year a very young woman came into the nursery wondering if she could change her baby’s diaper…..we welcomed her in and found out she was there b/c her car went off the road down the street from the church and she brought her baby inside from the cold to call and wait for a ride.
    Well, for the past two Sundays she has kept coming back to actually attend church now and has been bringing her very young husband (or baby’s father) with her. You can tell how young and inexperienced they are and how they would not be your “typical” church attenders but I love seeing the two of them drop off their baby and sit and enjoy muffins and tea before service begins. I know they are going in and hearing the same message I am and I know you can’t keep coming to our church and not meet Jesus if you haven’t. I know my life has been changed for the BETTER since attending. I can tell you many other stories of people I know personally whose lives have been changed since attending our church too….to me its the best church in town and no other church compares and if I find out you go someplace else I’ll try to get you to visit our church anyways!
    I am currently working hard on my Cousin, someday she’s going to give in and come to church with me!

  11. Mar 3, 2010 at 12:01 am

    Dear Craig,

    God is using you to shepherd and lead the Church. And yes, I used capital C. God is really shepherding and leading it of course, but He’s using you to do it.

    I love the fact that you are you.

    I love the fact that you have the same failures I do, and they encourage me. I often question if I’m even making a difference…and often feel like giving up. But God uses you, and inspires me as I sit in the audience…I can’t help but scoot to the edge of my seat, tilt my head sideways and smile.

    I’m so glad God has led me to our church.

    I really think it’s impossible for you to comprehend (and no, I’m not saying you’re dumb :) ) how much of an encouragement you are.

    Copy this, paste it into word. Print it. And read it every day. I want you to know how much God has blessed me with you (but again, you’re to dumb to know… jk :) )

  12. Mar 3, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Sometimes being a pastor can be rough. Here is a suggestion:

    Sometimes life can dish out things that make you want to scream, run and hide. The thing, however, is to remember that life happens to everyone. Even those folks that don’t seem to have a care in the world. There is one thing that some of these Beings know that you don’t think about. LIFE IS FILLED WITH SEASONS. It will not be your worst time forever. Look forward to the brighter days. Shoot, make those dull days bright by opening a curtain and letting some light shine through. It works!

  13. 14Antonia Pappas
    Mar 7, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    Dear Craig,

    I wanted to express my gratitude to you for being obedient to God’s calling and plan for your life. As a result of your obedience and God’s Holy Spirit working through you, so many lives have been changed and reconciled to our Mighty and Awesome God. If you ever question why you do what you do, I want you to remember that like Jesus, one man’s obedience saved so many in ways you cannot even comprehend! You have been an incredible model of a true Christ Follower. Not perfect but the “real deal”. Personally, my family has been so blessed by all of Lifechurch, especially our local campus, Wellington. We will never be the same, so thank you! Please stay encouraged as we have an enemy that would try to discourage you to follow God’s plan. Also, thank you for letting us know how we can be praying for you. God Bless you and your family!

  14. 15Amanda
    Mar 30, 2010 at 10:54 am

    Words can not express how thankful I am for lifechurch. (This coming from a girl who swore years ago she would never go to a large church) Craig, your teaching shows your heart for God. Our local pastors do a great job being the hands and feet of God. I recently became a foster mom and could not have hoped to survive and make an impact with two very special needs girls without my lifegroup and my best friend who I met while serving at one of our campuses. God used you to set up an environment for me to get plugged in. I came here badly beaten and broken by people who thought they were doing what was right. God used lifechurch as a place for me to heal and now I have the honor of serving and helping others come to that healing. I heard something last night that may make you smile. Without Goliath David would have seemed ordinary. I can’t imagine the pressure you feel on a daily basis, not only with the church, but your beautiful family as well. All I can say is you must have proven to be trustworthy to God for Him to use you in the way that He has. Thank you for being a man of integrity and calling our staff to that place as well. Thank you for setting up a place that I can bring children who have been broken in ever sense of the word to receive hope and healing for the first time in there young lives. Thank you for being so outreach minded that I can watch a church service on line with my two best friends one who is serving in Iraq and the other who is stationed in Colorado. Thank you for raising the bar when it comes to finances. I have a friend who is very business minded and believes that all churches are wasteful and therefore not worth investing time or money in. He can’t say that about lifechurch. We are amazing caretakers of what God has given us. Thank you for proving to him that your priority can be the Kingdom and you can still display wisdom. Thank you for being willing to make mistakes and take chances. Thank you for holding us as a body accountable while setting the example yourself. Thank you for teaching that we are one body here to help and complete not compete with each other. I love love love the fact that we partner with so many different churches. Thank you for sharing what God has given you to help further His Kingdom. It has been an honor and a privilege to sit under your teaching. Thank you for letting God’s love flow through you to us week after week.