You're not going to be best friends with every pastor you serve. But you can work to know your pastor - strengths and weaknesses. Investing in a healthy, honest relationship with your church leader will make your ministry more enjoyable and efficient. In this (very long) series, you'll find tips on how to make these leadership relationships work.

When church is over, my wife and kids usually have one question: “Where are we going out to eat?” Maybe your family is the same way. Eating out after church is a tradition for lots of you! One Sunday in particular, the worship set had gone great. The band hit all the stuff we rehearsed, the transitions were smooth, lyric projection timing was perfect, etc. We all have those days where everything goes according to plan now and then and I was feeling pumped. I wanted to go have a big meal and relax. I had worked hard on the set and rehearsed for a couple of hours and I was ready to enjoy the fruits of my labour.

My wife asked the pastor’s wife to join us, so our little caravan headed over to a favorite lunch spot. We sat down, ordered our drinks and I leaned over the table to talk about the service with my pastor. The music had been awesome and the sermon had been Biblical and convicting. What a day!

But my pastor wasn’t feeling it. He said he hated the sermon. He had run out of time and had to cut a huge portion of the closing. He was frustrated and obviously didn’t want to talk about it.

I couldn’t understand it. His sermon had been good. Why was he so bummed? Rehearsal.

Even when a pastor practices a sermon before preaching, it’s not the same as a band rehearsal.

With a rehearsal, there are very clear markers for musicians (i.e., landed that key change, stayed with the click track, vocalists remembered the double chorus, etc.) There are visible and audible things that allow the band can know if they’ve succeeded or not. But pastors don’t get that. There are very few benchmarks in a sermon that a preacher has rehearsed. (And it's even harder if the preacher doesn't rehearse the sermon!)

They stand up, preach God’s Word in the hope that it will connect, but there’s often no way for them to know if they nailed it or not. They serve in the void, hoping - but not knowing if - their ideas connected.

You can significantly bless your pastor by giving good feedback. Do a little extra work to find out how the congregation is connecting with the teach and then encourage your leader with that. You’re able to get much more unbiased response that your pastor ever will. Don’t betray confidences, but when someone speaks positively about the pastor’s impact, ask that person if it would be okay to share their story with the pastor. It will be a tremendous help to your pastor.

Click here for Part 4