October is Clergy Appreciation Month, that time of year to show pastors just how much they are appreciated.
The pastor’s work is never done. When you see them Sunday mornings, you have no idea what they may have gone through during the week. Pastors have important roles in the church and community.
They wear many different hats and must assume various roles when performing the many duties they are called upon to do. Pastors constantly are called upon to visit the sick and go to hospitals, nursing homes, jails and prisons. They are expected to always be available to lend a listening ear and provide reassurance that everything is going to be fine no matter what the situation.
They do not have the luxury of 9-to-5 jobs, nor are their assignments confined to certain tasks. They are always on call, even during their vacation period. They have a 24/7 position, and people put great demands on their time.
Many pastors are quitting the ministry because of burnout. According to the ChristianPost.com article “Seven Reasons Why Pastors Burn Out” by Thom S. Ranier, one of the reasons is expectations. “All pastors would be problem-free if they were omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. Of course, no pastor can meet all the expectations of church members. But many try. And they burn out as a result,” it says.
They oftentimes are taken for granted. Members expect pastors to always inspire and encourage them. They forget that pastors also are human and need some encouragement.
During their special month, why not encourage? Take the time to express your appreciation for the many things they do to help you and others. Be mindful of the many sacrifices they make for the church.
As a faithful member, take time to do an act of kindness for your pastor and his or her family. It not the size of the act, but the sincerity in which it is done. Something as simple as inviting them to dinner, movies and plays would make their day. Many pastors recall the good “old” days when members invited them to an old-fashioned Sunday dinner after church.
They also need their cars detailed, yards cut, robes cleaned and someone offering to drive them every now and then. This also might be the month to purchase the pastor a new robe.
In this age of escalating gas prices, a gas card would be great. Gifts cards also are great items to give the pastor and his or her family.
However, one of the most important things you can do for your pastor and the family is to pray for them. Hebrews 13:18 states, “Pray for us, for our conscience is clear and we want to live honorably in everything we do” (New Living Translation). The enemy’s assignment is to destroy the head; but with your sincere prayer, his plans can be aborted.
These men and women of God give selflessly of their time and service to help you grow spiritually and comfort you in times of need. Why not do your part to help make their assignment a little easier? Become a problem-solver instead of the problem. Remember that not every little issue is a problem that demands the pastor’s attention.
Salute your pastor during this special time. Spend some extra time showing your pastor that he or she is worthy of double honor. Overwhelm them with your love and appreciation.
Anderson is a columnist and author based in South Georgia.