Hebrews 13:7, “Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the Word of God to you”
1 Timothy 5:17, “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching”
If you think about it, we definitely have a lot of special appreciation days in our culture. Some of these would be Boss Day, Secretary’s Day, Father and Mother’s Day, Teacher’s Day, and the month of October has been designated as Pastor Appreciation Month. So, have you express appreciation to the Pastor of your church recently? If you haven’t, it’s never too late to say “Thank you” to those in your church, especially your Pastor who faithfully serve the Lord. I’m sure you have heard about booster shots, which are part of a complete program of vaccinations that protect us against threatening diseases.
Moreover, have you ever heard of booster words? Simply put, they are words you say to help others in the fight against discouragement and despair. My brethren, words of encouragement can be “life words” bringing new motivation to a person’s life, especially those faithful pastors, who have been called by God to proclaim His truths to a lost world! Sometime ago I read an article about a church in Colorado that wanted to encourage its pastor by placing a special article in the church newsletter. The author of the paragraph titled it “Boost the Pastor a Bit.”
The article was sent to a print shop, and a typesetter went to work on it. However, when it appeared in the weekly church paper, the headline read, “Boot the Pastor a Bit.” Although we may smile at this humor, many people may feel that way about their pastor. Most pastors take their calling seriously because they recognize they are charged with the awesome responsibility of feeding and teaching the flock of God and overseeing its spiritual welfare. However, there are too many times when the enormity of their task goes unappreciated. Although they aren’t looking for praise, they do need the encouragement of those who are helped by their ministry. The assurance of prayer, a word of commendation, an expression of love – what reinforcement these can give them! Stop and think for a moment of all the influences that have touched your life spiritually. Probably high on your list of those who have contributed to your spiritual benefit would be a godly pastor. Does your pastor need encouragement? If so, look for ways you can give him a boost and not a boot.
If your pastor faithfully preaches God’s Eternal Word and tries to live an exemplary life, do all you can to support and encourage him? Of course, no pastor is perfect, and sometimes a careful rebuke may be needed (1 Timothy 5:20); however, a pastor carries an enormous responsibility (Hebrews 13:17), and a faithful man of God is worthy of loving respect and generous financial support. Mark Twain once said he could live for a whole month on just one good compliment! So, when was the last time you specifically and purposefully appreciated your pastor? If you haven’t here are a few ways of showing how much you truly appreciate and value him:
(1) Invite your pastor and his wife for dinner or give them a food shower along with gift certificates to their favorite grocery store;
(2) Take your pastor out to lunch to his favorite restaurant;
(3) Write him a hand-written note of appreciation for who he is and how God has used him in your life;
(4) Be present at Bible Studies and prayer meeting, stay awake during sermons, and turn up for training sessions. It is blatantly disrespectful to have your pastor spend so much time in preparation for his message from the Word of God when only to find 10% of the membership present;
(5) Encourage and invest in your pastor’s professional development by sponsoring training, conferences, a book allowance, pastoral exchanges, and sabbaticals. You will benefit greatly from the refreshing exposure your pastor gets. A pastor that isn’t growing will keep the congregation under-nourished;
(6) Let him know that you appreciate the load he carries: the pressure of caring for sheep and the daily sacrifices he makes for the ministry of your church. Convey that you understand he does more than just show up and preach;
(7) Pray for your pastor in that God will protect him spiritually, that he will be empowered by the Holy Spirit, that his ministry will be Christ-centered, that he will have a passion for lost souls, that he will resist temptation and will give glory to God for his ministry;
(8) And please don’t forget your pastor’s wife. She makes as many sacrifices in giving up her husband to ministry opportunities. Send her a note of appreciation, maybe some flowers or a gift certificate. Whatever it is, express your gratitude for the part she plays in the ministry of your local church.
The nature of the service provided by pastors and their families is unique. God has entrusted to them one of the most precious of assignments, the spiritual well-being of His flock. When a pastor becomes ineffective, the very souls of his members are endangered. When eternity is in the balance, we should all be concerned. Pastors and their families live under incredible pressures. They are the ones who perform a wedding one day and possibly a funeral the next. They are the ones who receive phone calls in the wee hours of the night to bring comfort to those in need. They are the ones who may have to make an unpopular decision for the church, but the right decision by God. They are the ones who counsel us during times of trial and comfort us during pain. They are the ones who visit us or a loved one in the hospital.
Furthermore, their lives are played out in a fishbowl, with the entire congregation and community watching their every move. They are expected to have ideal families, to be perfect people, to always be available, to never be down and to have all the answers we need to keep our own lives stable and moving forward. Those are unrealistic expectations to place on anyone, yet most of us are disappointed when a pastor becomes overwhelmed, seems depressed, lets us down or completely burns out. So, my brethren let’s take the time to encourage our pastors, not only during Pastor Appreciation month, but each month throughout the year.
A pastor leads best when his people are behind him.