October is Pastor Appreciation Month. It’s the month where we pause and remember how thankful we truly are for our pastors and pastoral staff. We don’t always recognize the sacrifices they make and the big and little things they do to shepherd us and lead us.
October gives us the opportunity to honor them and come together to celebrate them as well. Most churchgoers respect their pastor, but they don’t necessarily appreciate them. And if they do, they don’t show it. This lack of shown appreciation in large part is simply due to most people having no idea all the roles a pastor actually fills to make a church function. They don’t see the hard conversations and tenuous relationships. They don’t see all the spiritual struggles and emotional strain. It’s hard being a pastor.
As members of a congregation, we should take the time in October to consider how we can bless and be a blessing to the pastors who minister to us each week. It helps when we peel back the title of Pastor and consider underneath that role, who they are, and all that they do. So remember:
- Pastors are human too. They wake up many mornings feeling tired and overwhelmed, just like you and me. They have good days and bad days. And the thing is, they not only have to handle their own bad days but also help ALL of us deal with our bad days!
- They need their cups filled too. They are pouring into other people all the time. They literally are expected to be helpful and wise and kind everywhere they go, in every situation. Yet they can pour out too much and become empty. When they don’t have anyone filling their proverbial cup, then it will run dry! Obviously, the Holy Spirit is filling them and giving them what they need, but they can still use encouragement and support from people like us. A kind word and a pat on the back can go a long way when you are feeling worn and weary.
- We are called to pray for them. 1 Timothy 2:1 says, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly, and dignified in every way.” They are in a position of spiritual authority over us, and that puts them in a place of great vulnerability. The enemy wants to discourage and distract them. They need us to pray for their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual protection. They need us to pray for their marriages and their children. If the enemy of our souls can destroy a pastor’s marriage and family, he can discourage and disillusion a whole church. This is exactly why our ministers and pastors need us committed to praying for them.
- They need to be ministered to just as we do and sometimes even more. The burden they carry by leading us is heavy! 1 Thessalonians 5:11 gives us clear instruction to “encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” They are part of our spiritual family. Just because they are leading us, does not mean we cannot minister to them.
It is our privilege and responsibility to care for our pastors by praying for them, finding ways to encourage them, supporting them and their families in every way possible, and serving them. Just as they have a high calling as shepherds, we also have a high calling to be the hands and feet of Christ to our pastors and spiritual leaders.
How will you bless your pastor this October, and will you commit to continuing this ministry throughout the year?