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Encourage Your Pastor This Month

By Pastor Phillip Howle
web posted October 8, 2014

RELIGION Ė October is pastor appreciation month. It does not make many calendars and pastors feel a little awkward proclaiming it from the pulpit ďThis is my month, so honor me!Ē So, I will do it for them. This month show your pastor some love and appreciation.

Many people and churches sadly treat their pastors like spare tire jacks in the back of their car. They know they are around, they are glad they have one, but they donít think about them that much. Then whenever they need them they expect them to be right there and if they are not they will throw a fit and find themselves in a mess. This is sad.

Belonging to a church means that you understand that God, in His grace, has placed someone in your life to have spiritual oversight over your Christian life. It is awesome that God cares enough to do this. He has not left you alone. He has given you a shepherd to lead, guide, feed, nurture, and protect you.

Being a pastor can be a difficult job. Pastorís can get whiney and act as if we have it worse than anyone. I know the jobs many of you have and I would not want it at all. Pastoral ministry is unique amongst other vocational callings God places on the lives of His children.

First, it seems everyone out there knows how to do the job of a pastor better than the pastor. You donít by the way. Churches are full of ďarm-chairĒ pastors who second guess every sermon and idea of their pastor. Your pastor does not or should not tell you how to be a better nurse or teacher, so pray for him and let him do his job and you do yours.

Second, there are not many jobs where your family is under scrutiny for all that they do. Does your employer care what kind of car you bought your kid or if you wifeís pound cake is decent? No, but there is stress knowing that your family is viewed as an extension of yourself at all times. Your pastorís family feels this stress.

Third, your pastor bears the hurts and sorrows of the entire congregation of people. This is a tall order. Your pastor listens to problems and sees sickness day in and day out. It can be an emotionally draining and very sad job at times.

Fourth, a pastor is never caught up. This is true in many of professions and in life as well. There are always sermons to prepare, people to go see, and issues that must be handled.

Fifth, your pastor will stand accountable to God for how he carries out his calling. (Heb 13:17) They also will incur stricter judgment for the way in which they live their lives and carry out their responsibilities (James 3:1). God is the final and ultimate judge of a pastor not you. Pastors know and feel the weight of their accountability before God of the spiritual well being of the church they have been entrusted with.

Now, this does not mean that your pastor is prefect or always right, but he is always your pastor. This means that you need to understand how you are to treat and relate to your pastor. Listen to Paulís command in 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 ďWe ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.Ē

The level of disrespect and ungodliness shown to pastors by people is tragically sad. Most anger at pastors stems from peopleís own anger and spiritual frustrations with God. Please, donít forget Hebrews 13:17 ďObey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.Ē

So how should you express your appreciation to your pastor? Here are a few ideas.

1. Give Them Your Prayers. This is the greatest gift you can give your pastor. If you donít love him or even like him you should begin to pray for him and see if God can change your heart. Of course, if you already love him, then youíll naturally want to pray for him.

2. Give Them Your Love. A pastor who really shepherds his people will expend a great amount of love. His heart will be stretched and often broken. Next to your prayers, the greatest thing you can give your pastor is your love. By the way, if you love him, let him know it. Despite what some people think, I donít know of any pastor who has the ability to read minds. I canít tell you how many times Iíve received a card expressing someoneís love and prayers and what a difference it made to me. I have a stack next to my desk I turn to often.

3. Give Your Pastor a Little Grace. Iím amazed at how often people get their feelings hurt in church. Often it is because of something somebody did or said, or didnít do or didnít say. Sometimes that somebody is the pastor. The next time you start to get upset with your pastor, take just a minute, breathe and consider the possibility that he might just be human too. Maybe, like you, he actually has good days and bad days. You never know what burden he might be carrying, what issue heís having to deal with. It might be something at church or at home. So, give a little grace and cut him some slack.

4. Quit Behind-His-Back Criticism - Ministers, as well as virtually all public authority figures, are often the subject of incessant criticism. If there is a legitimate matter that concerns the leader, it should be addressed to him personally, but criticism behind oneís back certainly doesnít help them, and when distributed about can cause a lot of harm to a leaderís reputation and credibility.

5. Put a Stop to Gossip and Bad Mouthing - Do not speak against or listen to gossip or slander about your pastor. If you hear negative comments, respond with a positive one. If misinformation is being spread, correct it with the accurate information. Or, if people are gossiping, just walk away. The Apostle Paul said, ďDo not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses.Ē (1 Tim 5:19)

6. Brag to Others about Your Pastor. It will get back to your pastor and he will feel great about himself and appreciate the kind words.

7. Write a Nice Note to Your Pastor. Your pastor gets phone calls and emails from people who are hurting and in need as well from people who are bothered with something he said or did. It is a great joy for a pastor to receive a thoughtful note. He will keep them and read them over and over.

8. A Financial Gift. There is a reason why this is last. For most pastors that I know a love offering is way down at the bottom of a list of things they would like to receive from their church. It is easy to throw 10 bucks in a love offering. It takes time and thought to express your care and appreciation of them. It takes courage to protect them when they are being run down by others. It takes time to daily pray for them. Most pastors donít become pastors to get rich or have a lot of money. They do it because of the call of God on their life. There is nothing wrong with giving them a gift card for a nice meal or a little extra money to do whatever they want to do with it. But donít let cash be a substitute for expressing your love and appreciation for them, they would rather have that.

So express your appreciation for the hours of ministry and love that your pastor gives to you, not just during the month of October, but the rest of the year as well.

Thankful everyday for the privilege of God calling me to be a Pastor.

Pastor Phillip

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