Many are the pastors who are truly appreciated by their congregations, but they never know the depth. I was requested to write something regarding Pastor Appreciation month. I have been in pastoral ministry for the better part of 36 years. I understand the mountains and the valleys, the joys and the sorrows, the disappointments and the victories. I love pastors. I have had many pastor mentors in my years of ministry. Many are the pastors who will never know or understand the impacting influence they are having in people’s lives.
October is Pastor Appreciation Month, and yet my friend, many pastors dread the coming of October because they know their congregations will once again overlook it. Don’t get me wrong, no God-called pastor serves God to receive awards, ceremonies, gifts, pats on the back, etc., but a little appreciation builds one’s confidence and satisfaction in his work. One truth is seldom thought of regarding pastors; they themselves do not have the joy and luxury of having a pastor, and many do not have really close friends with which to share common struggles of life.
On a positive note, many churches do have a special day to show their appreciation for the pastor. Some with have a meal or dessert fellowship and even some gifts, too. But, allow me to share a couple of ideas that would also have great meaning to these soldiers of the Cross. Perhaps on such day there could be several congregants who would verbalize their appreciation in a time of praise for a job well done; perhaps mentioning specifics of how this man’s ministry had been a help in a difficult time. Those are heart-warming days for a tired man of God.
One thing that has been most appreciated to me over the years has been hand written cards, notes and letters which express love, care and gratitude. These wonderful thought out gifts are long lasting and can be revisited over and again. I have received hundreds of such communication. As I read the gracious mementos, I discover an impact I was having in a life that I might never have realized without these personal expressions.
I had one member years ago who wrote encouraging letters to me once a month. I cherish those letters all these years later. She seemed to know and understand all my struggles. And, she would remind me of the ways a message ministered to her need in the moment.
Beloved church member, if you want a better, stronger, more compassionate pastor, build him up with kindness. God bless you, as you bless others.