I am fascinated, as some of you are, with holidays from around the world. Just last week, we enjoyed Sukkot and the Autumnal Equinox. I understand those holidays, and I know where they came from. But Daughter’s Day? or Better Breakfast Month? or Red Panda Day? (I am wholeheartedly in favor of this last one–have you ever seen a red panda?) Chocolate Chip Cookie Day? Yes! Fat Bear Week? I’m here for that.
Also, I would like to commend to you Pastor Appreciation Month during October. While it is not an official holiday, it is an opportunity to take some time to encourage our pastors.
My friend Anthony Kidd tweeted this week: “To all my fellow pastors who are 1 disappointment away from resigning, remember: “And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” 1 Pet. 5:4. Hang in there!” If ever there was a time to pray for your weary pastor and to encourage them, the time is now!
Here are a few ways you can encourage the Under-Shepherds who labor among you:
- Send a note. Email is fine, but a handwritten note is even better. Be specific about how you are praying for them and ways that you are thankful for them. Was there something in the last message they preached? a way that you have seen them grow? something you overheard about them that was encouraging? Write it down. Send it off.
- Give a gift. Find out what they enjoy–coffee? foot massage? tickets for a game? or, when all else fails, money for books. . . But please, no plaques with cute quotes, or most anything you see at Hobby Lobby. . . Just stick to the books. Like, David Powlison’s posthumously released devotional Take Heart. Or my pastor’s chapter by chapter Bible companion The Well.
- Invite your pastor’s family to dinner–yes, at your house (or a park or burger joint. . ). Be thoughtful about including some other folks who may be fun and encouraging. Warm, scruffy, simple hospitality, including the use of paper bowls and plastic spoons is just fine.
- Arrange a date night. Cash, and, if applicable, a dependable babysitter, go a long way to encouraging a weary couple.
- Remember your pastor’s humanity. He is a sinner, like you. Broken, like you. Growing, hopefully, like you, hopefully. Hold your unrealistic expectations in check.
- Speak kindly about and to your pastor. If you find areas of disagreement, have a conversation with him privately.
- Own your sanctification. Work toward adorning the teaching of God our Savior with your glad obedience to Jesus. Fight for holiness for yourself and those around you. Your pastor will be blessed to see your walk.
- Show up. Sunday morning, Sunday evening, church workdays, kid’s programs. Be there, be an active member of the Body. What commitment is more important than that which prepares us ready for all of eternity? Take notes, ask questions, worship with all your heart.
- Show double honor to those who rule well. 1 Timothy 5.17
- Give recognition to those who serve. 1 Thess 5:12
And not just during October, right?