While writing A Christ-Centered Wedding, my mom and I interviewed several pastors to gain their wedding wisdom. We touched briefly on this in the book, but today I want to share a few ways couples can serve their pastors during the days leading up to the wedding. It may seem strange to think of it that way--isn't the pastor supposed to serve the couple? Well, yes. But this is mutual. We read in I Thessalonians 5:12-13:
We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work.
We sometimes forget that while this is one of the most important days in a couple's life, weddings take a lot out of a pastor and his family. So as he serves you, here are some ways you can serve him:
1. Plan Early - Don't wait until you have planned the date and booked the venue to ask your pastor if the date is available. In fact, allow your pastor to share in your joy early, and ask him about a few dates to see what might work best for his family. It's easy to forget to consider his schedule and just assume he will be able to work around ours.
2. Consider His Family - This fits with the last one, but we can take it farther. Saturdays are family days for many pastors--opportunities to see their kids' athletic games or other activities and to relax with those closest to them. When planning the weekend's events, consider that you will be taking up time for a rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, wedding ceremony, and reception. Being as organized as possible will keep the rehearsal brief and free the pastor up to still see his family during the weekend. And if he can't stay for every moment of the wedding festivities, that's okay too.
3. Be Generous - Beyond the premarital counseling, which can take lots of time and energy, the wedding weekend itself takes a lot out of a pastor. One way to thank him (and his family for sparing him) is to give him a generous gift to show your thankfulness for his service to you and your families.
4. Listen With Humility - Most pastors have seen a lot of weddings and counseled many couples, both before and after their weddings. Your pastor has wisdom you need to hear. Take time to read whatever he recommends, to work with him on the ceremony, and to ask his wisdom on both wedding and marriage matters.
5. Pray For Him - Take time to pray for your pastor and his family as he walks through this engagement with you. Our pastors need our prayers, and this is a great opportunity to begin to make this a part of your lives as a couple. Ask him what specifically you can pray for, and pray with diligent expectation that the Lord will build up His servant through the Spirit.
These are not rigid rules, but rather just a springboard to help you think through how you might be used of the Lord as a blessing in your pastor's life during this season.
Do you have other ideas of how to encourage a pastor and his family? Maybe you're a pastor and you have some thoughts--please share them with the community in the comments.
*Photo by johnhope14