It amazes me how some will never say, “Thank you, that sermon really helped me today.” Then there are some who say it every week.
Occasionally, somebody will go out of their way to write me a note. They will remark on something I said, sometimes something I don’t even remember saying, that touched them, helped them, and got them through the week or a trial. In general, I don’t think ministers want to be praised because they don’t want the devil to get in the way and stir up pride issues.
When I talk to young seminary students, their biggest fear is disagreement. They are averse to conflict. We have to recognize, however, that preachers are sinners, just like the rest of the congregation. If you knew what went on in my head, you definitely wouldn’t want me to be your minister.
Ministers occasionally need a word of encouragement. It can be a simple thank you or a handshake at the door that has meaning in it, and that’s it. You go home thinking, “I think I did some good today,” and that gets you to the next day.
This is a transcript of Derek Thomas’ answer given during our A Continuing Reformation: Pittsburgh 2021 Conference and has been lightly edited for readability. To ask Ligonier a biblical or theological question, email firstname.lastname@example.org or message us on Facebook or Twitter.