By Kyle Bueermann
It’s October, which means Pastor Appreciation Month is upon us. Some churches will dote on their pastors and staff. Some churches won’t.
You might find yourself in a church that shows godly appreciation for their pastor. Perhaps you’re in a church where the folks won’t even give a second thought to Pastor Appreciation in October (or any other month, for that matter). Regardless of where you serve, the fact remains: ministry is hard. And, even the most faithful and most joyous pastor will have days when he wonders if he’s making any difference at all.
Perhaps you pastor the most faithful group of saints to grace the earth since Jesus ascended into heaven. Maybe you serve people who could rival the Hebrew children’s stubbornness in the desert.
Regardless of where you serve, the fact remains: ministry is hard. And even the most faithful and most joyous pastors will have days when they wonder if they’re making any difference at all.
So during Pastor Appreciation Month, I want to encourage you to remain faithful and be the kind of pastor who shows appreciation to your congregation, whether they ever reciprocate or not.
Pray for Your People.
Perhaps this seems obvious. And it is. But that doesn’t mean we don’t need reminding of this from time to time.
I’m amazed every time I read the account of the Israelites’ wandering in the desert. They fought Moses almost every step of the way. And yet, multiple times, we see Moses praying for the people God had called him to lead.
Pray for those who are great encouragements to you. Pray for your critics. Pray for your people!
Pray that God will be glorified in their lives. Pray that you’ll have wisdom as you shepherd the people God has entrusted to you.
Love your People.
There are many ways to show love to your people. Here are a few practical suggestions:
- Send birthday cards.
- Visit them in the hospital.
- Congratulate them on major milestones in their lives.
- Rejoice with them at weddings and births.
- Cry with them during seasons of heartache and mourning.
- Just love them!
In my experience, churches that really know their pastor loves them begin to reciprocate that love in big ways. It may take some time, but people who are loved well often learn how to show love in return.
Dear Pastor of the Appreciative Church,
A final word for those of you whose churches will go above and beyond for pastor appreciation during October: rejoice with your church. Thank your church.
But please be careful how you share that experience on social media. Remember that you likely have fellow pastor friends who are on social media who are in very dark places in their churches.
While you’re celebrating your church, remember some may be struggling just to step into the pulpit every Sunday morning.
Dear Pastor of the Unappreciative Church,
If you’re a pastor whose church will go through October without a second thought toward Pastor Appreciation, remain faithful.
We don’t serve our churches to get Starbucks gift cards or love offerings. We serve because we’ve been called by Jesus Christ to shepherd the flock of God.
Remember Peter’s encouragement to elders in 1 Peter 5:4, “And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfailing crown of glory.”
That, my friends, is the ultimate pastor appreciation gift from the head of the church Himself!
KYLE BUEERMANN (@kylebueermann) co-authored Replanting Rural Churches and is the pastor of First Baptist Church of Alamogordo, New Mexico, director of replanter development for the North American Mission Board, and co-host of Not Another Baptist Podcast.