October is Pastor Appreciation Month. Now that I am no longer in pastoral ministry I have a unique perspective on this. But first, I want to begin with a big heartfelt thank you to the Pastors in my life who have helped shape me into the man I am today. I am so grateful for your faithfulness.
I know that there are Pastors who have dropped the ball big time. If you have ever been hurt by a really bad Pastor, I’m truly sorry that you had to endure pain from a source that pain shouldn’t come from. I would never try to sweep any of that stuff under the rug, or pretend it never happens. It does and when it does it’s a tragedy. But, the vast majority of Pastors are good people who honestly do what they do out of their healthy and growing relationship with God. Their main desire is to help people connect with God and experience transformation. And yes, those Pastors aren’t perfect and they do make mistakes. Usually when they do make mistakes, they own up to them and try to make it right. That was the kind of Pastor that I tried to be, and fortunately for the most part that was the kind of Pastors that I had in my life shepherding me.
For those of you who aren’t Pastors I’d like to let you in on some things that you might not have known about Pastors:
- They are real people, with real families.
- They are not super humans. They experience every human emotion that you do. They have the same life struggles that you do. The main difference between them and you is that they experience those things in front of and in full view of a lot of people.
- They have an incredibly hard job. Basically they are trying to help the people God has placed under their care become everything God intends for them to be, and help the church or ministry that they lead become everything that God wants it to become. That is not easy for one main reason. That reason is people are not self aware, they are stubborn and stiff necked. At least that’s how Moses described people. (And God didn’t disagree with him.) The human condition’s basic operating system is rebellion and resistance. Pastors have to confront that condition all the time – in themselves first and then in the people they lead. No, it isn’t easy.
- On top of having to do that hard job, they catch a lot of unbelievable criticism for unimportant things. From my own experience, there was a church that I was a Pastor of that criticized me for everything. It got to the point that I felt like if I told someone that Jesus loved them, someone would criticize me because I didn’t say it the right way, or smile enough when I said it. Then someone else would probably criticize me for smiling to much when I said it. When that happens it incapacitates the Pastor and renders the church impotent.
So what’s my point? Pastors are good people, operating out of Godly motives, who do great things in incredibly difficult circumstances. They deserve your appreciation. This is the month that you individually and your church corporately should do something really nice for them. Yes, I said do something – really nice.
Here are some ideas:
- Gift cards, lots and lots of gift cards.
- Repair their house. Hire the best contractor in town to do it. Make sure your Pastor doesn’t have to pay one penny of the work.
- Send the Pastor and his family to a nice week of vacation somewhere they could never go on their own. Even give them spending money.
- Tickets to their favorite sports team’s game, or even tickets to a big time sporting event. (The Masters, A Bowl game, etc.)
- A side of beef. And a freezer to keep it in, if they don’t have one.
The bottom line – be generous. Bless them. Show true appreciation. They deserve it and they need it.