I am not a minister, but I feel one of the gifts God has given me is to minister to my ministerial staff so my question kind of fits this forum. If you are a minister - how do members of your congregation lift you up spiritually. How do they tear you down? If you are not a minister - how do you lift your ministry staff up? How do you tear them down? I see, time after time, in church after church, ministers and their families give everything they have in them to give to Christ with via their churches, while receiving inadequate pay. They answer calls at all hours of the day and night, they get up there Sunday after Sunday knowing that by teaching the word of God as God has given it to them, some people will hate them because they hate the idea of turning from whatever it is God wants them to turn from. There will be people who hate them simply because they are not the pastor who was there before. There will be people who debate pastoral authority (which I find interstingly enough are usually the same people who blame ever problem in the church on the pastor.) Many Ministers and ministerial staff members work with inadequate pay, poor or no health insurance, and almost no time off. Many would not dare go to anyone else to ask for prayer over a personal problem, lest it become the topic of the next church business meeting. I know one pastor who jokes, "I used to think that the secret to being a good minister was prayer and bible study. I went to seminary and I studied ministry, theology, bible history, ancient languages, and I graduated with a 4.0, and I thought, now my congregation will respect me. Then I met this one deacon - - - ." I try to drop a note to members of my church staff or their family, from time to time, telling them how much I appreciate what they do for the church, or for me. I keep my ears open for when they are having health problems, or even for when they seem down, and I pray for them, and I ask others to. (Our church has a prayer team that specifically meets to pray for the Pastor and his staff and family.) I try to find out what they need in their office, and if it isn't the church budget, I ask around town and around the church, and sometimes we come up with things. For instance, when the microwave was stolen from the office of a staff member she would not ask the church to replace it because she said it was just for her lunches, so some of us got together and had a "we want you to know we appreciate you," party and gave her a new microwave. Our deacons are very outspoken on the issue of not spreading gossip and vicious talk about the Pastor or staff. When someone starts badmouthing the staff they will stop them and say, "If you feel this is a serious problem that the church needs to address, please put it in writing and bring it to your deacon. We'll discuss it at the deacon's meeting." It is amazing how many people are willing to whisper negative talk in the halls, but not willing to bring anything to the deacon body.