Being a pastor is one of the toughest jobs. Many people join the ministry because they desire obedience to God’s calling and they want to make a difference in people’s lives.
I have watched pastors come and go through the years. It takes a toll on their health, family, and marriages. Many of them love what they do, but it can be a lonely profession too.
Pastor Appreciation Month
October is Pastor Appreciation month, a chance to stop and let your pastor know how much he or she means to you and your family as well as the church family. However, I want to challenge you to do something at least once a month to show your pastor how much you appreciate all they do for the church and the community.
The work of a pastor is not always labor intensive like working construction or being an accountant responsible for people’s financial futures and taxes. However, it is a constant work when many people count on them for moral, emotional, and spiritual support. Time at home is not always relaxing, because life crises, death, and disasters are not convenient.
Maybe you don’t feel your pastor is living up to your expectations to all you wish he or she would do for the church. However, remember they bear more burdens than you can imagine. Many pastors work tirelessly to love on their church family, be involved in the community, and prepare a powerful sermon for each Sunday. This is not a cushy or easy job.
In many ways, I see a parallel to being President of the United States to being a pastor. It is impossible to make everyone happy. If you help one group, then another group feels you have left them down. There is no winning as a Pastor or President. It is a matter of doing the calling of God, and that is not always the popular choice.
I asked some pastors in the area for ways they would feel appreciated, supported and encouraged by their church family. They shared some beneficial ideas.
I encourage you to utilize these suggestions or ask your Pastor how you can help, support or encourage him or her.
Mike Waers of Northridge Christian Church in Milledgeville suggested:
- Notes of Encouragement [By mail or email]
- If they have small children, babysitting for a fun night out.
- Nice date night. [Gift cards and time with their spouse.]
- Small things like their favorite candy bar [or homemade cookies] show you thought about them.
- Let them know you are praying for them often. [Take a minute with them and pray for them when you can.]
The comments in brackets are mine.
A veteran pastor from the Macon area wishes to remain anonymous suggested:
- Ask them something you can do at the church for them to free up some time for them. Take on the task giving your pastor the gift of time.
- Commit to being present at services. Nothing says you appreciate my preparation like being present!
- Give them a gift card, or gift certificate. (Not to the bookstore – that can come across as you need to study more!) If she likes to run, make it to an athletic shoe store, or if he likes to play golf make it to the local course. Connecting the gift to his or her interests is a sign you appreciate them for who they are.
- Make a gift to the church in their honor. Allow the pastor to determine the use. Most pastors I know have a wish list of projects, equipment and or resources for the church.
Both pastors share some fabulous ideas, and maybe it sparks an idea for you to offer your pastor.
Connect With Your Church Family
Are you a part of a church family? I know finding a church can be difficult and challenging. It really shouldn’t be difficult. However, we are all human and even at church, we can struggle to love others as Christ loves us. I challenge you to earnestly seek to find a church home if you do not have one. It may mean driving further than you like, but it will be worth it when you gather with other believers to worship and fellowship together.
Church is not a box to check to be on the good list with Jesus. It is not a place to compete with other believers to see who is the better Christian. It is a place to love and be loved on by others. A place to do life together, and carry each other’s burdens to Christ when needed. There are no perfect churches, but churches perfect for you!
And let us not neglect our meeting together,
as some people do, but encourage one another,
especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
~ Hebrews 10:25 ~
Yes, you can have church at home, or watch services online, but there is nothing like physically worshiping with other believers at the same time. God wants us to lift each other up, support one another as we grow closer to God, and give to each other. You have gifts someone needs, and someone else has gifts you need. You will not know the joy of being a believer if you do not spend time with any.
If you are struggling to find a church home, then I pray you seek God daily until he shows you where he wants you. Then participate and get involved in the church. Working alongside others is when you become an intimate church family.
We have many wonderful churches in our area with dedicated pastors who want the best for you and our community. It is my hope and prayer you show some love to your pastor this week and all year long, and if you have been missing out on church family, then take the time to find one. God desires to help you grow in your faith, and a great place to mature in your faith is with other believers.