I’m not exactly sure when or where it began or even who had the idea, but
for the past several years October has been recognized as Pastor
Appreciation Month. I have tried to find out the history of this tradition
but nobody seems to have a definitive answer. This past month, my family
and I have been the recipients of several acts of love from individuals,
families and Sunday school classes in our church who wanted to let us know
that they appreciate their pastor. Some have sent cards, given gifts or just
taken a moment to call, text or stop in my office to offer their appreciation. I am
humbled, honored and extremely blessed. I’m just starting to work on thank
you notes but until I have the opportunity to personally express my
gratitude, I hope these precious saints know that their simple acts of kindness
means a great deal.
I say that because there have been times when, as a pastor, I haven’t
always felt appreciated and on a few occasions even believed that I hadn’t
done much to merit the appreciation of God’s people. As I have been blessed
to be a part of a church where I feel loved, appreciated and valued, I thank
God but I also feel a little guilty because I have pastor friends who are in places
where they don’t feel appreciated. The honest truth is that a good number of
ministers are miserable, depressed and feel unappreciated.
So what’s the difference between a pastor who feels appreciated and a
pastor who feels unappreciated? It’s not that one group has a harder job
than the other or more responsibilities. The difference, according to a
recent Lifeway survey, is a supportive congregation. I agree with that but
one other thing I have found to be true is that a church appreciates a
pastor who appreciates them. I think some ministers and staff members who
feel unappreciated simply need to look in the mirror and ask themselves if
they are showing their congregation the love and respect that they deserve.
Paul told the church “So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters
is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” (1 Corinthians 3:7)
Sometimes we … churches and pastors alike … are tempted to take all the
credit when things are good and blame others when things go wrong. When we
work together and give God the glory, we can appreciate one another better
and have unity.
So from a pastor who appreciates his church members … thanks to you for showing
your appreciation to your pastor and his family. Your pastor loves you and looks forward to serving TOGETHER with his congregation as we all lift up the name of
JESUS to a lost and dying world.