Over the next few weeks, congregations will be taking up love offerings and gifting their pastors with nativity-scene Christmas ornaments, baked goods, and framed pictures of the church building. But what do pastors really want for Christmas?
We asked some of our favorite church leaders (on condition of anonymity!) to tell us what they really want from their congregations. They seemed to fall into a few general categories.
More Personal Time
"A week or two in Rome with my wife."
"A two month sabbatical to write my first book."
"Entire summer sabbatical!!! Can I get an AMEN??"
"A paper-folding machine for bulletins. I'm tired of folding them myself each week."
"Our own barista for the church office."
"A bathroom in my office! I can't go the bathroom without getting stopped by eight different people who want to talk or share their story."
People with Perspective
"People willing to try something different!"
"Willingness to connect with and serve the poor in our community."
"People making worship a priority in the midst of their holiday plans."
"A 'complaint free zone' for a year, or a quarter, or even a month!"
"Just the words, 'thank you' or 'we appreciate you.'"
Churches, what could you offer your pastor to help with these needs and desires? You might not be able to fund a vacation or a sabbatical, but could you give your pastor a Sunday off every few months so she can go out of town with her family? Could you earmark a few hundred dollars to make the pastor's office a nicer place to be? Could you commit to encouraging your pastor throughout the year with kind notes, meals, and enthusiasm?
Pastors, what do you want most from your congregation this Christmas? Is it a week in Maui? . . . a repainted office? . . . a magical cone of silence for sermon-writing? A subscription to Ministry Matters?