Tag Archives: Pastor Appreciation

Pastor Appreciation Month

pastor appreciation

Let me tell you a story. I’ve served in children’s ministry for years. At one point, the area I served in chose to pause over the summer. When we started back up in the fall, the response we received wasn’t, “Thanks! I appreciate having a safe place for my child to be during service.” or “How was your summer? Did you get some rest?” or “I am so grateful for you guys.” It was, “Will you provide children’s ministry again?” I and those who served with me had become nameless helpers who’s only job was to serve in children’s ministry and nothing more. It hurt.
Sometimes I wonder if that’s how we treat our pastors. Being married to a pastor means I see more than most people get to see: I see how much my husband prays for the church he is serving at, I see how many hours he prays and pours over God’s Word and books so that he can preach every week in hopes of bringing people closer to God, I see when he wakes up at 3am to pray for the church or to write down a sermon idea (Dan plans out his sermons almost a year in advance, tweaking where he needs to and changing when he feels God leading him otherwise. In other words, he works very hard!). Not only that, he meets with the brokenhearted, connects with other pastors in the area so they can hold each other accountable, and constantly is reading, listening to podcasts, and learning from other Christians leaders so he can be as faithful of a pastor as he can be, along with leading his family and loving us.
But sometimes I think he, along with many other pastors, become faceless servants of the church. He’s expected to preach, that’s what he’s paid to do, right? (note: most pastors are paid very little). And he’s here for the congregations’s benefit, to make the church a happy and safe place for everyone. And if people don’t like it, it’s all right to complain until change happens.
Instead of appreciating our pastors, we treat them the same way I was treated at the end of the summer. “Will you provide ______ again? Will you preach what I want to hear? Will you provide the ministry I want to be part of? Will you meet all of my spiritual and emotional needs?” (which honestly, only God can do that, not your pastor).
This month is Pastor Appreciation month. Instead of wondering what your pastor can do next for you, take a moment instead and just say, “thank you.” Thanks for being my pastor. Thank you for loving us and praying for us. I’m thankful God brought you here.
You might not realize how much your pastor might need to hear these words.

What Does a Pastor Do?

This month is Pastor Appreciation Month, a time where you can reflect on what you pastor does and how he serves the church. However, many times I get the question, “What exactly does a pastor do?”

Usually our work titles explain what we do. Doctor? They work with patients and healthcare. Teacher? They work at a school teaching kids. Secretary? Works in an office and usually handles office work and telephones. But what does a pastor do, other than preach on Sundays?

This is a good question, one I’ve even been asked even by close family members. What does Dan do every week? Does it really take five days a week to come up with a sermon for Sunday?

So I thought I would share a little of what Dan does (and probably many of your pastors) every week.

Sermon Prep1) Study God’s Word and prepare a sermon. Dan usually plans his sermons months in advance, digging deeper into the series and the particular sermon as the Sunday draws near. This includes praying, studying the Bible, studying context, browsing commentaries and other writings on that particular topic or verse(s), finding illustrations, and praying some more.

2) Strategic Planning. A pastor doesn’t just preach every Sunday, he leads the church, usually in conjunction with an elder board. This means asking where is the church going? How are they reaching their community? How are they reaching the people already part of the church? How are they teaching and equipping their people? These are just a few of the questions he asks. Then he works with the elders and staff on how to answer these questions. If you’ve ever walked into our church and seen the whiteboards in the backroom, that’s Dan’s brain on strategy 😉  And not only is he asking these questions, he is in constant prayer about where God wants the church to go. After all, it’s not his church, it’s Christ’s church.

3) Meetings. Lots and lots of meetings. Dan meets with his staff every week to find out how they are doing, both in their ministry and personally, both as a group and individually. He cares about the people who serve the church and wants to help them in any way he can along with praying for them. He also meets with other pastors to encourage them, talk about the church community, and discover new ways of doing ministry. And he meets with the elders, to share his heart with them, to encourage them in their leading, and to work together to lead the church.

4) Counseling. Pastor means “shepherd” and as a pastor that means helping those in the congregation. Almost every week Dan meets with people who are struggling with their marriage, parenting, or life in general. He talks with them, shares what God’s Word says, and prays with them and for them. Trust me, this isn’t always an easy thing to do, to get involved in people’s messy lives, but when I watch Dan interact with people, I am amazed at his patience and love with those who are hurting.

5) Church events. Whether that is leadership training for small group leaders, teaching a class during an evening, or meeting with newcomers after church over pizza.

6) Pastoral care of church members. Sometimes this means conducting weddings, funerals, or hospital visits.

Praying hands7) Prayer. Dan prays a lot. If you didn’t notice, almost all the points up above have some aspect of prayer. Dan is always on his knees for the church. I know, I’ve walked in on him on his knees, praying, even sometimes in tears.

This is just a glimpse of what a pastor does. Along with his daily and weekly duties, he also strives to walk with God. A pastor must be Biblically qualified to lead the church. 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:6-9, and 1 Peter 5:1-4 lay out the character and lifestyle that a pastor/elder should exemplify. Not perfectly, but walking with God in humility. (I share more about church leadership here).

Many pastors also go to seminary or a Bible school to gain more training in theology, doctrine, etc.. as well as how to lead a church. Some have a master’s degree, some have 2 master’s degrees, and some even have a doctorate. This is not so they can show how smart they are, but so that they can accurately teach God’s Word.

The pastor’s family also serves by giving their husband and dad to the church so he can serve. Now I’ve seen unhealthy examples of where the dad/husband is never home because he’s always serving the church. That is never good for the family or the church. Instead, a healthy church/pastor family relationship is built on the understanding that there are times the church needs daddy and there are times the family needs daddy home. I wrote an article about the relationship between the pastor, his family, and the church here).

Sometimes a pastor gives up financial stability to serve the church. Most pastors are not in ministry for the money (and if they are, that’s a big problem). But many pastors, for all of their qualifications, education, and years of experience, make very little compared to most professions that require the same. They do this to serve the church. However, a pastor sometimes walks the line between living on the resources provided by the church and providing for their family (I share my thoughts about doing what you love for a living here).

In the end, the life and service of a pastor is not easy. Much is expected of him. He wakes up thinking and praying for the church, he goes to bed thinking and praying for the church. He gives of himself, his time, his resources, everything he is so that he can shepherd the people God has placed under his care.

Because of that, pastors need your prayer and support. You may never know the pressure they are under or the battles they are facing.

I would encourage you this week to say thank you to your pastor and tell him how much you appreciate what he does. I know from experience how much a word of encouragement can mean to a pastor 🙂