Open Letter to My Pastor

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I’ll learn your hobbies and passions outside of the ministry, your favorite kind of music, and your favorite meal.

Dear Pastor,

I appreciate your dedication to bringing the Word every Sunday. I appreciate your willingness to respond when there is illness, family discord, celebrations, and even death. I appreciate your thankful heart toward our congregation of servants and all that takes place in our church.

I’ve come to realize that as a council member I’ve gotten to know you as you’ve fulfilled your pastoral role, but I have not gotten to know you. Going forward, I will make an effort to get to know you as a person. I’ll learn your hobbies and passions outside of the ministry, your favorite kind of music, and your favorite meal.

While serving on the council, I’ve focused too much on evaluating your pastoral performance while ignoring things you think are working well. I will begin to discover what recharges you and what you see as your sweet spot—so we can celebrate.

What would help you better fulfill your calling? In what areas would you like to have your load lightened or your responsibilities modified? What aspects of your job drain your energy?

I hope you’ll be honest and practical with your answers. For example, could you use new tools for your job? Could you use better equipment like a cell phone or computer? Additional training? Opportunities to nurture your soul, such as attending a retreat or devoting a day to solitude and prayer?

I want you to dive deeper in your walk with God, grow wider in your knowledge of him, hold fast to what you know to be true. If you struggle to carve out the time, let me know. I’ll work with the council to help you set it aside.

I hope you’ll never be in fear of the council—instead, I want us to be your greatest support system and trusted team. My hope is that we will appreciate one another more with each passing season of ministry.

I’ll be honest . . . so often I’ve said that I will support you in prayer, and I didn’t. I’d ask you to call me if you need anything and then hope my phone didn’t ring. I’d pray for all the things around you, but rarely prayed for you and, more rarely still, with you. I am committed to change this so I am more available to you.

I am here to love you better and help you flourish as our pastor . . . and as a child made in the image of God. Sometimes I forget that’s who and what you are. One of us. A brother. A friend. So I ask, with sincerity, what can I do for you today?

Council Member

About the Author

Gary Miller is a healthcare professional serving as an elder and council chairperson at Covenant Christian Reformed Church in Appleton, Wisc.