Thankful pastors do the best in ministry. (Unsplash/Charles Etoroma)

As I was trying to discern some of the qualities and characteristics of pastors who are doing really well in ministry, I was surprised that the most common trait was an attitude of abundant gratitude.

Simply stated, pastors who have an attitude of continuous gratitude are doing very well in ministry. They are joyous pastors. They serve joyous congregations. They see a steady flow of first-time guests at their churches. And they are more likely to see many church members growing as more devoted followers of Christ.

Why? Why are thankful pastors doing so well in ministry? As I have come to know these pastors, I see five common answers to this question.

  1. Thankful pastors are focused on that which really matters. We have a limited amount of emotional energy. We can choose to focus on the energy drainers or those things that renew our energy. Thankful pastors focus less on critics because they are focusing on the blessings of God. They are able to see more clearly God's vision for the church, because they are seeing the good things God has already done through their attitude of thanksgiving.
  2. Thankful pastors have a contagious attitude. The church often takes on the personality of the pastor. If the pastor is legalistic, the church is legalistic. If the pastor has a dreary demeanor, the church follows. But if the pastor is continuously thankful, the congregation becomes a thankful church. That's a fun and joyous place to be.
  3. Thankful pastors attract those who are not yet in church. They remind me of the passage in the early church where the numbers were growing daily because they were "having favor with all the people" (Acts 2:47b). The unbelieving world is attracted to a place of joy and thanksgiving.
  4. Thankful pastors lead congregations that give abundantly. In the same context of Acts 2 I noted above, the joyous and awe-filled church gave sacrificially and abundantly (Acts 2:45). People give out of a sense of gratitude and thanksgiving, not one of guilt or compulsion.
  5. Thankful pastors tend to have longer tenure. They are so thankful for their present churches that they don't have the green grass syndrome for other churches. They stick around long enough to develop trust, earn a place in the community and establish a healthy leadership approach.

It is indeed one of the most consistent characteristics I have seen of successful pastors. Thankful pastors tend to do well in ministry.

By the way, I am so thankful for you pastors and other church leaders. I am thankful for your ministries and your sacrificial service. I am thankful I have the opportunity to serve you.

You are a blessing.

Thom S. Rainer is the president of LifeWay Christian Resources.

This article originally appeared at

Dr. Mark Rutland deconstructs the man after God's own heart in David the Great. Explore of the the Bible's most complex stories of sin and redemption. Discover the real David.

The one verb most frequently missing from leadership manifestos is LOVE. Dr. Steve Greene teaches in order to be an effective leader in every area of life, you must lead with love. Lead with Love.

Your ministry's future depends on how you develop leaders using five practices to establish influence, build people, and impact others for a lifetime. Amplify Your Leadership.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
Use Desktop Layout
Ministry Today Magazine — Serving and empowering church leaders
AD topLeft