Jan 27, 2015

Encouraging Church Workers

By Kristen Whirrett

A couple months ago, Anna wrote about supporting your pastor. If you haven’t already read it, please do so! I’d like to expand upon that topic today and encourage you to think about how you support all your church workers. Let me start by giving you some background.

I’m a PK (Pastor’s Kid) born to a Lutheran pastor and his Lutheran school-teacher wife. My mother became a stay-at-home mom when I was born, but continued serving as the church organist. I, quite literally, grew up in our little Lutheran church on a hillside in San Antonio. After high school, I attended Concordia University-Seward, where almost all my friends went into church work as teachers, pastors, DCE’s, and parish musicians, to name a few. I became a Lutheran school teacher who taught in Cincinnati before getting married to another Lutheran school teacher and moving to Fort Wayne to teach. With the birth of our son last March, I became a stay-at-home mom who still teaches music at a Lutheran school two afternoons a week. My life and livelihood has always been in the Lutheran church.

The tasks of Lutheran church workers vary. Unfortunately, it sometimes feels as though we professional church workers are overlooked and unsupported. Lay people don’t always realize that their DCE, deaconess, or other church worker could use more help or even just more encouragement. Yes, we are called to serve as we do. Please know I am not complaining. Rather, I am asking you to support your pastor and church workers. Here are three simple things I would encourage you to remember in regards to all your professional church workers.

Have realistic expectations. Yes, many of your church workers are paid. Yes, this is their job (for lack of a better word). But they can’t do everything on their own. A church is only as strong as all its members. Be involved in your congregation and don’t expect your church workers to do it all.

Acknowledge your church workers. When was the last time you sincerely complimented your pastor on his sermon? When was the last time you stayed to listen to the entire postlude your organist played? When was the last time you really looked at the art work your school teachers displayed in the hallway? When was the last time you asked your DCE how his latest youth group event went? Take the time to notice what your church workers are hard at work doing!

Encourage. Encourage your church workers in their ministry. It is easy to point out the negatives, but look for positives. Yes, we are sinners and we make mistakes. We work long hours and are away from our families (probably too much). We aren’t getting wealthy on a church work salary. Thank your church workers for what they do day-in and day-out, year after year. Encourage them, whether with a compliment, a written note, or even a simple gift. Find some way to encourage your church workers on a regular basis.

Our Lutheran churches are richly blessed by our called and professional church workers. Remember them in your prayers as we all serve and worship the Lord together!


After graduating from Concordia Seward and serving as a Lutheran teacher for a decade, Kristen is now a stay-at-home Mom. She still teaches music part time at one of the 16 Lutheran schools in Fort Wayne. Kristen writes about living both frugally and joyfully on her website –Joyfully ThrivingWhen she’s not busy finding good bargains, you might find her reading with her son or baking something chocolate. Kristen’s husband, Andy (another Lutheran school teacher), is living this frugal Lutheran journey with her, as they raise their 9-month old son, Nathan.

Title Image: "A Meeting of the School Trustees" by Robert Harris, 1885

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