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September 26, 2019

A Word from Mike

PASTOR APPRECIATION MONTH

 

October is here again! What a great time of year. Cooler weather, football, and as I hope all our churches know…PASTOR APPRECIATION MONTH!! As I was writing this article, I thought about a comparison with Easter. At Easter, we celebrate the resurrection of Christ; but I hope we don’t do that only at Easter. Likewise, in October, we celebrate our pastors and staff, and their families; but, again, I trust that it is not only in October that we appreciate and celebrate them.

Maintaining a healthy perspective toward your pastor is a very important matter. Some lift them beyond what they ought…others do all they can to squash them down and keep them ‘in their place.’ Neither is a healthy position. The truth is that they are men, hopefully called by God to do a very difficult work—more difficult than most of you will ever know. Unless you’ve lived the life of a pastor / minister, or lived in a their family, you CANNOT know the pressures and stresses of pastoring / ministering in such roles; neither can you know the joys and blessings.

Let me give a biblical example. In 2 Cor. 11, Paul felt it necessary to stand against his opponents who desired to lead the Corinthian saints astray. He commented on the intensity of his ministry in Christ. It was far more than something easy and ordinary. He detested boasting, but decided it was necessary for the believer’s sake to let them know the truth. He said:

 

23 Are they servants of Christ?—I speak as if insane—I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. 24 Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. 26 I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; 27 I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense

concern?

 

I include this passage to make another comparison. Hopefully, your pastors have not endured the kinds of things Paul did, but I assure you, they continually bear a great deal of burden—things that do not even particularly have anything to do with ministry. But then, there is the constant pressure and concern they have for the church to which God has called them to minister. You may not realize it, but they can’t get away from it; it, indeed, is constant. Even when on vacation or trying to enjoy days off, they know they leave behind hurting, needy, sometimes demanding people; and they are only a phone call or text away from being right back in the fray, often denying their own needs for the flock that they love. A 2016 article in Facts and Trends, noted of 1500 pastors surveyed:

  • 84 percent say they’re on call 24 hours a day
  • 80 percent expect conflict in their church
  • 54 percent find the role of pastor frequently overwhelming[1]

That’s the kind of stress they’re dealing with, just with church related things!

Are you realizing or remembering their love and sacrifices for you? I pray that you do and that you always honor them, lift them up in prayer, and look for ways to help them succeed at what God has called them to do. That is not only good for them and their families…that is also good for you!

I hope that, this October, you will find ways, individually and collectively, to honor and lavish love upon your pastors, staff, and their families. They NEED it more than you know. I promise you, there are those ministering in the Harmony Association, right now, who are wondering if anyone really cares about what they do. There of some who are seriously contemplating quitting. Their stress is just incredible, and when they don’t know if they are valued, it makes it even more unbearable.

 

You can show them your love through: kind words of appreciation, extra time off, monetary gifts, gift cards for his family (don’t forget their spouse and kids), maybe words of forgiveness (if you’ve been holding a grudge against him for some past issue…which maybe he doesn’t even know about). Use your imagination! Get creative on how you can build up those who sacrificially minister among you. They are worthy of your love, if for no other reason than because God placed them in your lives.

 

Blessings to you and to your pastors, staff, and families!!

Mike Manning

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