Through this column, I would like to share an exciting opportunity with you. If I were to ask you to name one of the most appreciated individuals in your home church, many of you would be quick to say, “my pastor.” With that in mind, are you aware that October has been designated as Pastor Appreciation Month? This provides your congregation with a wonderful opportunity to express love and appreciation to your senior pastor and the other pastors who serve your congregation.
We recognize that our pastors are committed to this ministry because of their love for God and for people.
They are living out a calling that God has placed upon their lives. They are passionate about helping other people know Christ and grow in the same relationship they have with Him.
Pastors fulfill the significant responsibility of preparing sermons, preaching and teaching the Bible multiple times each week. They pray for the needs of their people, comfort them when they are discouraged and rejoice with them when they are happy. They invest hours listening to people describe disappointments related to their jobs and incomes, disagreements within marriage and family relationships, fear when sickness and death invade the family, and personal issues caused by disappointment and sometimes even depression.
We expect our pastors to be visionary leaders and guide the process of developing missions and ministry budgets and then to motivate the church members to support the budget through voluntary giving of tithes and offerings. The 24/7 responsibilities and expectations of this work are demanding. At times, pastors labor under significant pressure – many put in long hours, sometimes leaving home before daybreak en route to a hospital, often getting back home to their families late at night.
Do you ever stop to realize that no matter how effective they are as the servant leader of a congregation, no matter how much time they invest and how hard they work, pastors are often held responsible, in the minds of their membership, for the failure or success of the church?
Out of my own experience as a pastor, as well as working in relationships with pastors and congregations for 40 years, I have come to believe that being an effective pastor is one of the most challenging vocations in life.
Would you like to take the initiative to help your church family express their love and appreciation for the pastors of your church and let them know in a special way how much you appreciate all they do throughout the year?
I hope that different groups and classes within your church family will discuss and plan ways to celebrate Pastor Appreciation Sunday with the entire church family and show your pastor how thankful you are for him. You still have time to plan a day that the whole church family will enjoy if you will start working now.
In this age of social media, through Facebook and text messaging, it is easier than ever to share with others how much your pastors mean to your church families. A simple reminder that you pray for them and love them will provide encouragement. I also hope that even after October, you will keep your pastors in your prayers as our Father has commanded us to do. You will be glad you did.