Rom 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
It is October, the leaves are turning, Oktoberfests are cropping up everywhere, the colors of orange and black are taking over at the stores while scary costumes are decorating the windows.
But October is also Pastor Appreciation Month. It is time for anyone who is a part of a gospel preaching church to make the effort to make their pastor(s) feel appreciated.
In a recent study by LifeWay Research, 55% of Evangelical pastors are discouraged at any given time. It didn't matter their age, location or the size of their congregations.
Additionally, the study showed that the same number, 55% are lonely. Here, though, younger pastors, those with larger churches and those with higher degrees of education tend to be lonelier.
Fact is, most pastors are hurting, discouraged and lonely. But a little encouragement can go a long way. We may think that they know we appreciate them, kind of like the husband whose wife asked him if he still loved her. He said that he told her he loved her when they got married and if anything changed, He would let her know. Affection needs a bit more expression than that!
Perhaps last October you gave your pastor a card or gift certificate or you took he and his family to lunch after Sunday services. But now it has been a whole year since you consciously expressed your appreciation. Isn't it time to sincerely do so once again.
Pastors are basically 24/7. They are always on call. Even when they are not "working" they are thinking about ministry, praying for the sheep, wondering what they might do to improve the work. When they get away, they have trouble really getting away, especially since they take a couple of ministry books, their phones and laptops with them. Honestly, few pastors really know how to take a vacation and leave it all behind for a while.
On average only about 6 or 8 out of 100 parishioners bother to say "thanks for the message" on the way out the door as they shake hands with the preacher. Generally speaking, pastoring is the lowest paid profession of all. It is considered a labor of love. It is kind of like the guy who has continence problems in a dark suit, he gets a warm feeling all over, but nobody really notices. Sorry, I couldn’t resist! Realistically, pastors need to be shown some love and appreciation on a fairly regular basis.
When folks step up to do things around our church, I always try to express my deep heartfelt thanks. Jokingly, I often say, "Great is your reward in heaven, 'cause you sure ain't getting it here." Of course, I accompany that with a smile/smirk. The thing is, just a "thank you" is what a person needs to continue in their good works.
Sure enough, the smile of God and a "well done, my faithful servant!" is what every servant of God is looking for. But it doesn't hurt to hear a "Good job!" down here below from the folks for which the pastor pours out his soul several times and week, neglects his family, his health, gives up a more lucrative salary and lives in a glass house.
Thanks to all the good, selfless, godly, gospel-preaching pastors, evangelists and missionaries. You have my thanks, appreciation and admiration, if only for October! :<)