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Pastor Appreciation

Some late Monday night pastoral musings considering Pastoral Appreciation Month. I hope these are helpful for wherever the Lord has placed you:

1) Be in church

When you miss a service any good pastor will worry. When you don't tell us why it makes it worse. When you miss for several weeks in a row without telling us it's nearly unbearable. We've all had people leave our churches, and we tend to assume that anyone that misses is doing the same. Our job is to seek the ones that go astray & are lost, but that becomes incredibly more difficult when we're constantly chasing members of the flock that are scattered abroad as well. One day we will give account to God for your faithfulness so please make that something we can do "with joy and not with grief, for that is unprofitable for you." (Heb. 13:17) The greatest gift you can give your pastor isn't monetary, but your faithfulness.

2) Accept correction

It's as hard for your pastor to encourage you to do the right thing (whether it's faithfulness to services, removal of sin, growing in a specific area, etc.) as it is for you to hear it. The only way to change that awkwardness is either for us to neglect our mandate to watch over the flock or for you to not neglect your mandate to change your ways. If your pastor talks to you about something then thank him, thank the Lord you have a pastor that cares, and organize things so that you can change in that area.

3) Be encouraging We are our own worst critics and rarely need any help on that front. Good pastors take their accountability before the Lord extremely seriously and as such need encouragement regularly. We are well aware of our failures and frailties. We get discouraged when we misspeak, critique every aspect of our sermons, and get frustrated when there are minor technical issues within a service. When any of those things happen, don't feel like you need to point them out. Instead show some love and some encouragement, because we probably already know what went wrong and are down because of it.

4) Help us carry our loads

There are probably hundreds more things that are going on in your church and in your pastor's mind at a given time than you'd think. At any point we're dealing with people that have life destroying sin habits, tremendous hurts, burdens over our own shortcomings, planning for the future, and doubts over the unknowns within the church. Most of these necessarily have to remain confidential between ourselves and the Lord only adding to the strain. Seek out ways to lighten his load and try not to add to it. If there's something that needs done, jump in and do it instead of encouraging him to. There may be a reason he hasn't gotten it done and it's probably far more intense than you'd have expected.

5) Care for your pastor's wife and kids

Pastors wives carry a huge weight as they often are the only ones that a pastor can share his burdens with. Pastors kids are still kids; they act up, they sin, and they need discipline. They are not perfect just as your pastor isn't perfect, but even more so as they're still being trained. Add to the often unrealistic expectations on a pastor's family the incredibly variable hours and loneliness of ministry, and you have some massive burdens in this area of your pastor's life. Some of the greatest encouragements to me are when my church cares for my family and shows it to them in tangible ways.

6) Respect your pastor's time

Good pastors love to talk to our church members, but if every member in our church spent an hour talking to me per week then I'd be working over 80 hours a week not counting all of my other responsibilities. There are times where you'll need help and if so then certainly seek it, but help your pastor by not being an unnecessary burden to his already busy schedule when it's not necessary.

7) Be a volunteer not a critic

Your church will have problems that someone needs to solve, and they can't all be solved by your pastor. A critic will only point to the problem, but a volunteer will point to himself as a potential solution. Unfortunately, many churches are filled with far to many fingers pointing at the problems to be able to easily find anyone willing to offer themselves as a solution. Find an area and faithfully serve. Don't wait for the pastor to ask: you ask him if you can do it and then be faithful to do it to the best of your ability.

I hope these are some helpful thoughts on Pastor Appreciation Month. We love cakes and offerings, but more than anything we'd love you to do these things to help make our service to the Lord and to our churches a bit easier. Thanks for reading and for those that are already fulfilling these simple ideas.


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