“The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching” (1 Tim. 5:17, NIV)

One of the fondest memories I have of my childhood is that of our pastor coming to visit my family at home.   Even now, I can see him in my mind’s eye pulling up outside our humble home, getting out of his car and walking up to the front door, his Bible tucked under his arm.   He never seemed rushed, often spending at least half an hour talking with us about our walk with God and our needs before praying for the entire family.   We very much appreciated the visits of our pastor, a devoted servant of God who we believed cared deeply and loved his members.

Pastoral ministry is a multifaceted vocation that can tax even the strongest and most devoted pastor.    Preaching and teaching are not all that pastors do.   In addition to those two highly visible responsibilities, pastors perform an array of other responsibilities that often come at them all at once, requiring them to be adept at time management.   Little wonder some pastors burn out quickly, leaving the ministry in frustration for less demanding occupations.   Adding to the frustration of pastors are the expectations of church members, many of whom think their pastor is a super human being endowed with extraordinary strength and stamina.

One reason pastors struggle in ministry is lack of appreciation from members, colleagues, denominational leaders, and even family members.   Ministry may be a divine calling, but pastors are human beings who need affirmation.   They need to hear a word of encouragement or an expression of support ever so often.

As you may or may not know, October is Pastor Appreciation Month.   During this month we have an opportunity to affirm and appreciate our pastors, which is in keeping with the apostle Paul’s counsel, “Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you.   Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work” (1 Thess. 5:12-13, NIV).

This is an ideal time to let your pastor know that you’re praying for him or her.   Beyond praying for your pastor, send an encouraging note or card.  Let your pastor know that their ministry matters, that you believe God is using them, and that they’re making a difference.  Volunteer your services; be willing to contribute, not just talk.  Commit to being a part of the solution.   Be as copious with your compliments as you are with your constructive criticisms.

Being a pastor is an awesome responsibility, especially during the closing scenes of earth’s history. God has promised to give us pastors with hearts like His, pastors who will lead their congregations in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake (Psalm 23:2). Such pastors, as good under-shepherds, will feed and not fleece their flock (Eze. 34:1-31).  I believe that the Lake Region Conference is blessed with such pastors, and I am deeply grateful for each of them.

I encourage you to acknowledge and affirm your pastor during Pastor Appreciation Month. If possible, do so in a tangible way.   Thank you for what you will do to encourage and affirm your pastor.

R. Clifford Jones


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