To my pastor husband: I thank God for the work He has done in you. I am confident that He will complete the good work he began in you. Happy Father’s Day!

It is appropriate to affirm God’s good work in men who seek to be godly fathers. If your husband is a pastor or church leader, here is a sample letter you can read to him on Father’s Day.

Dear Husband, Pastor, and Father,

The upcoming day to celebrate fathers gives me the perfect opportunity to express my thanks and appreciation to God for the father and pastor you are to our children. You guide both our family and the church. I appreciate the traits you ably display through your unique position. You are an example of the Heavenly Father to our family and our congregation, offer masculine qualities that our family and our congregation appreciate, and lead our family and congregation in a Christlike manner.

You teach and train us

Let me expand on your example of God’s calling to fatherhood. The Bible recognizes the unique nature of the father who tries his best to raise his children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord.” You work at training and disciplining in the Lord, as Ephesians 6:4 instructs you. This is not an easy job, which the Bible also acknowledges. Hebrews 12:9 links discipline (“correction,” in the KJV) and the respect that comes afterward. “Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them” (Hebrews 12:9a). Hebrews 12:10 admits this task is not easy. “For they [our earthly fathers] disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them” (italics mine).

Each father does this job of teaching and training to the best of his ability. You are a father who sought wisdom from the Bible as you trained our children when they were young, and even now, you are influential. Deuteronomy 6 teaches that fathers must have God’s love in their hearts before they teach. You are a living example to our family and our church of a man who loves God completely, with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6:5). Thank you.

You’re the protector of the family and our congregation

I want to express thanks for your manly qualities. I’m thankful for how you get down on the floor in wrestling matches with our children. I’m thankful you play competitive games outside involving balls, frisbees, sticks, and more.

I’m thankful you are a protector who guards our family and our congregation. Jesus warned of false prophets who are ravenous wolves (Matthew 7:15). We need you to work with the other leaders in our church to protect the body from the fierce wolves Paul warns of in Acts 20:29. We respect your bravery as you do not “shrink from declaring…anything that [is] profitable” (Acts 20:20), and you do not “shrink from declaring to [us] the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).

Our congregation needs to be personally aware of these dangers. But God has given you a special responsibility. You and the other leaders keep watch over the souls of the local church because the Lord will have you give an account for those under your care (Hebrews 13:17). I am so grateful for the way you bear this responsibility with spiritual strength and a commitment to divide the word of truth accurately. Thank you.

You follow Christ’s example

Lastly, I am thankful for how you follow Christ’s example in your servant-leadership of our family and church. We watch the ways you limit your involvement in your hobbies. You take our children for bike rides, hikes, or leisurely walks in the local park. You accommodate yourself to the slowest member. You are like God our heavenly Father, who tends his flock like a shepherd and gently lead[s] those that are with young (Isaiah 40:11).

When our children were little, they knew you would carry them and not faint or grow weary. That happens in our church, as well. When a church member is too physically weak to come to church, you reach out. When a sister in Christ struggles with weak faith, you listen. When a young man needs an accountability partner in his struggle against sin, you offer to help. Isaiah 40:25 reminds us that none can compare with the Holy One, but you are the best living example of God’s fatherhood. Scripture calls us to look at Jesus, who showed us the Father and made him known (John 1:14-18). That causes us to look at how you emulate our Savior. Our church sees you demonstrate Christ’s humility. You are an example to your family and church when you follow in Jesus’ steps (1 Peter 2:21). Thank you.

I know you aren’t perfect. You sin. You become weak. The sins of others affect you. When you recognize that you sin against your family or your church, you confess it. Because Ephesians 6:4 warns against provoking children, it will be a temptation. When that happens, you humbly admit your sin before the Lord and your family. When you lead the church in communion, you include yourself as one who needs the same salvation the rest of us need. We don’t look to you as much as we look to Christ in you. That causes us to be grateful for your reminders to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.

I thank God for the work He has done in you. I am confident that He will complete the good work he began in you. Happy Father’s Day!