Early in my tenure at South Scipio United Brethren Church, I implemented a practice that I observed at the church in which our son served on staff. The senior pastor ended the service saying, "I love you, New Castle!" From the first time I said it until my retirement Sunday, I don't believe I missed a Sunday in the pulpit to communicate verbally what I sincerely felt. "I love you, South Scipio!" Imagine how surprised and blessed I was by the thoughtful inscription on the back of the stopwatch I received from this Real Small Church when I retired!
“Working for love is a curse. Working from love is a ministry.” ~Kris Valloton
Regardless of what you know or think about the late Dr. Jack Hyles, the first chapter of his book on building attendance in a church contained some valuable insight and suggestions. The first two are these:
1. Love Your People. Ask God to give you a heart full of love for the people you serve. This does not mean that you can always condone what they do. Many times a parent who loves his child will have to spank him hard, and the child may doubt the parent's love; however, behind the heart of a true parent there is a love that realizes it is best for the child to receive punishment for his errors. This is also true with a pastor. A pastor who scolds his people because he is tired of their sinning, is wrong. A pastor whose heart is broken because of the sins of his people, and scolds them for their own good, is right. Many evangelical ministers have failed in this respect because of the lack of a deep, abiding love for their people.
2. Be Expressive in Your Love for Your People. Some preachers carry a little pad around with them, and a pencil, and when they think of some member who has been a blessing to them, they jot the name down and later write the member a note or express appreciation personally to one who has been a blessing. Our people do much for us-they pray for us, overlook our faults, forget our mistakes and make us what we are. Let us express to them our love and appreciation.
See the other eight (and equally wise) suggestions HERE (or get your hands on a copy of his book).