In these days of high stress and anxiety, most of us are eager for any kind of positive regard. With hate and anger ricocheting all around us, we long for something appreciative, thankful or encouraging to come our way.
“Nice sermon, Pastor” seems like one way to voice our appreciation after worship on a Sunday morning. But tepid affirmations don’t work. The lack of specificity in this phrase prevents our thanks from being strong, heartening or helpful. Your pastor deserves more than that.
This phenomenon occurs in other places in life. Maybe this happens to you, too? Occasionally my lonely social media account informs me that I am getting noticed. “Your profile is looking great; your work and accomplishments are being recognized.” The artificial wizards that power this site also invite me to “See who’s looking.” I don’t respond, mostly because algorithmic appreciation doesn’t feel genuine. You and I deserve more than that.
Back to the words we exchange with our pastors as we leave worship. Some thoughts:
- Be specific, noting what was valuable insightful, encouraging, or helpful in worship today.
- Ask an appreciative question. E.g., “What sparked (the direction of) your sermon?” or “Where could I learn more about (a worship theme or thought)?”
- If appropriate, tell your pastor how today’s worship motivated you towards action.
- In a few words, say how or why the sermon or worship affected you—what you will carry into the coming days.
- Don’t overdo any of this. Keep the conversation short, personal and direct.
Your pastor works hard to lead a worship service that strengthens your spirit, that equips you for your own ministries during the week. In your end-of-service greetings, you can offer your heartfelt encouragement for his or her ministry.
Something your pastor deserves!
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