PASTOR APPRECIATION MONTH:
We are at the tail end of October, which for many is a time of great excitement as we enjoy the cooler weather and brighter colors, but for some it can be time of great trial and headache even through the beautiful season. Churches worldwide are celebrating Pastor Appreciation Month in the month of October and I wanted to take a few minutes to add some of my thoughts to this month. My goal with sharing my thoughts are simply to raise appreciation for pastors everywhere, and to encourage those underneath of a pastors leadership and care to see how precious and valuable it is to have a pastor who is as faithful as the Bible expects.
I have jokingly referred to myself as the 3rd string shepherd of this church. I find it humorous and at least partially true, but I also see many benefits and blessings to being in my position. In the way that a 3rd stirring athlete has a bird’s eye view of those in front of them, I too have a unique, privileged perspective on the staff of our church. I do not sit on the elder board, or do I attend elder meetings, but I work side by side with the pastors of this church. I am the Director of Family Ministries of our church, and I am not yet a licensed Pastor, but through my extensive training I have learned that every sermon must have 3 points to qualify, so my remarks for pastor appreciation month will follow suit. I want to briefly lay out for you as our congregation the quality of leadership and care that I see from my perspective in hopes of blessing you and adding significant gratitude and joy to your heart as you consider who it is that leads you. Even for those who are not part of our congregation on a regular basis, I will also include the faithful pastors who labor in Geneseo and throughout the rest of God's Church around the world.
You are served with love and care:
Acts 20:24 "But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God."
- There are many parts of the pastorate that are enjoyable, like preaching, teaching, and creative time that fits each pastor, but the enjoyable times are always kept grounded by the hard, difficult, tiring demands of ministry. Your pastors serve you with love through the selfless giving of their time, energy, focus, attention, and labor, including mind, heart, and body. They care for you in the degree of prayer that fills their weeks, and the degree of careful pondering of your needs as a church body as well as individual members. You are served with love and care….and I will add, that you are served in this way more than you will ever know or think.
- With love in their hearts, they seek the Lord's face to learn what His will would be not simply for their lives, but for yours too. With love they question, consider, ponder, dream, and pray about how best to serve you and they are constantly pressed to do more than is even possible by themselves. With care, your pastors commit weekly to many needs of the church that are unseen from the outside perspective. The unseen labor of the pastor is not minimal, but rather extensive and constant. With care, your pastors sacrifice, offer, and give of their lives because they love you and care about you.
Your pastors are unwavering in truth, and lead with courage and boldness:
2 Timothy 2:15 - "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth."
- Your pastors are not simply aware of the truth, and they are not casually bearing the truth on their shoulders. The truth is their breath and their blood, and they do not lead without the prayerful and careful consideration of what is true and honoring to the Lord. With an awareness of their calling before God, I believe that each of them have the heart that will take them to death before they are taken from the truth. Be encouraged by their courage on your behalf, and their boldness with the truth.
- Many pastors around the world today are weak and unstable when it comes to the truth. They show their awareness but never share their conviction to live by that truth. Pastors have grown increasingly weak in their presentation of truth, especially when it is hard. Cancel culture has crept into the pulpit and has become a greater influence on pastors than their theological training and stated belief in biblical inerrancy and universal truth is. Your pastors at Geneseo E-Free bear the truth with courage, with strong and deep conviction, and are disciplined in their exposition of biblical truth.
Ministry is hard, tiring, and constant, but it is you that make it beautiful and worth doing:
1 Thessalonians 2:8 "So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us."
- Your pastors long to see God move among you. They have a deep desire to see souls won to heaven and to see the saints strengthened for the work of ministry. As we have learned through our studies of the Apostle Paul, the minister is in a position that requires a degree of tireless work and labor and a constant and overflowing degree of prayer and ministry work. Seeing God’s grace displayed in your life is our joy. Seeing God work through His Word in your heart and your life is our hope as ministers. Beneath our eternal hope and expectation for Christ, your pastors hope for your souls, and they expect the truth to bear fruit as they minister to you through their faithful and diligent growth in and use of His Word.
- The Bible has high expectations for those who teach, and lead such as our pastors do. As Pastors consider their calling, there are many burdens and stresses, but there are even more beautiful and enjoyable opportunities within the ministry. Your Pastors are never so overwhelmed by expectations that they neglect opportunities to love you and serve you in a greater way. Each of your pastors bear 1 Thessalonians 2:8 on their sleeve with passion and care.
More than you will ever know or think, your pastors love you and labor on your behalf. More than you will ever know or think, you are cared for. More than any of us will ever know or think, God has bestowed tremendous blessing on this church in establishes the leadership that we have. I would challenge you to not only show your appreciation, but to sing praise and thanks to God, because we have been blessed beyond measure. Pastors more than you will ever know or think, I look up to you, admire you, and love you. You have become a source of inspiration, motivation, and joy for me and so many others. I have been privileged to sit underneath of your leadership and to be deeply mentored by you, and the time I have spent with you has been invaluable to me. More than you will ever know or think, this body of believers loves you and is blessed to have you here. God made no mistake putting us all together, and we have the privilege to enjoy this blessing together.