Published October 24, 2017

Paul's Epistle
"Appreciating Pastors"

Do you feel encouraged and energized when someone compliments you on something you've done or are doing? Of course you do.

The same goes for pastors. And, because October is observed in many churches as Pastor Appreciation Month, this is a great time to re-evaluate how well you're expressing your appreciation to, and support for, your pastor.

One pastor recently wrote that being a pastor, depending on the day, is either the best job in the world or the worst. Pastors, he said, regularly experience God's power in accomplishing salvation, restoring families, empowering preaching and healing broken lives. But, he added, they also see people at their worst, including Christians, who sometimes take out their anger, fears and bitterness on their pastors.

Indeed, a recent Barna Research study of pastors found that, of those surveyed, 54 percent said that they "sometimes" experience emotional or mental exhaustion. In fact, another 21 percent said this was a frequent occurrence.

Fortunately, this stress is usually offset by the fact that more than two-thirds of pastors (68 percent) say they feel "well-supported" by those close to them. And the one thing that goes beyond even that for a good pastor is a profound sense of God's call to do what they're doing.

Gary Dull of the American Pastors Network says, "We know from research that pastors can feel isolated and sometimes unappreciated. Those feelings can sometimes lead to early burnout – and today's churches need committed pastors who are sold out to preaching the whole counsel of God, now more than ever. Even a small word of encouragement or gesture of appreciation can make all the difference in a pastor's life."

Absolutely! And, although there are many more, the APN gives these five reasons to appreciate pastors:

There are many possible ways to show appreciation to your pastor, but the APN suggests these as starters:

And, I might add, encourage others to do likewise.

Honestly, now: When was the last time you personally thanked your pastor for his sermon? Even better, when was the last time you told him about something specific that he said in his sermon that helped you in some way? When was the last time you thanked him for his service to you, to your congregation – and, especially, to the Lord?

Each of us needs encouragement – now more than ever – to continue our work for the Lord. Today — you don't have to wait until Sunday — today would be a great day to encourage someone personally and to encourage them in their ministry, whatever form that ministry takes — as a pastor or otherwise.

Ask the Lord in prayer what your pastor or others really need to hear. And then let the Lord encourage them through you today.

- Paul

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