This year I’m having a difficult time getting into the spirit of pastor appreciation month.
This has nothing to do with the fact that Nancy and I have the highest appreciation for our own pastor, David Benjamin. We are blessed to have our friend also our pastor. Like others in our church, we are not only appreciative of David – we are downright proud of him. Few ministers are so down-to-earth, yet smart and full of wisdom. His sermons are simple yet deep; Biblically based and so very practical; humorous and inspiring. David is also one of those few pastors who knows how to lead without pushing, guiding without controlling, growing the congregation without gimmicks – all because he loves people –in the community as well as in the church. (I could say more about him but since he is not paying me to write about him, I’ll stop.)
This year has been difficult for me. I have watched too many people say they appreciated their pastors and yet either fired them or put so much pressure on them that they threw in the towel and got another job or another church. Walking with these pastors through these valleys is an honor and a privilege but sometimes it takes a toll on me too.
It is no secret that the pastorate isn’t the job that it used to be a generation ago. With more than 85% of all churches in America declining, that makes the pastor’s job more than difficult. It is one thing to have a shepherd’s heart and lovingly care for the congregation. However, it is completely different to have the entrepreneur skills to keep a float an enterprise that is going under because it has lost its market share and the demographic base is disappearing. Some congregations are too often like corporations and sports teams, if the team isn’t winning or if the profit margins are disappearing, it’s time to make changes at the top.
So, what’s the bottom line? No matter what the situation of your church, Pastor Appreciation Month is a wonderful opportunity to encourage your staff and their families. These are people called of God to serve – even in the hardest of situations. Believe it or not – they too have the same dreams of health and growth for your church.
If your church is on a winning streak – show your appreciation.
If your church is having challenging times – show your appreciation.. “Why?” you ask.
The answer is easy and simple and comes straight from the Bible–
“those who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.”