October is Pastor Appreciation Month and as such is an opportunity for church members to show that they see and value the service of their ministry leaders. But pastor appreciation can be a source of struggle for some church leaders, as one South Carolina pastor shared Tuesday.
“’Pastor Appreciation Month’ is strange for a lot of pastors (myself included),” said David Sons, lead pastor of Lake Murray Baptist Church in Lexington, S.C. “Most pastors, if not all, want to know that the life they live, work they do, and ministries they lead are a blessing to their church members. While also recognizing that they do all those things primarily for the glory of God and not the praise of men. Because of this, many of us subtly create a false dichotomy between God’s glory and man’s praise. But the two aren’t always mutually exclusive.”
A short 🧵about pastor appreciation.
‘Pastor Appreciation Month’ is strange for a lot of pastors (myself included).
— David Sons (@dsons) October 19, 2021
Pastor Appreciation and True Humility
Sons alluded to the situation church leaders are in as those called to be examples of what it means to follow Jesus. “Many pastors don’t draw any attention to being appreciated in their churches because they don’t want to appear self-serving or vain,” he said. “They instead choose ‘humility’ by failing to communicate to their people that they are edified by congregational or personal encouragement.”
When Pastor Appreciation Month rolls around, many church leaders hope their congregants remember it, but will not mention if they do not. Sons believes it is unwise for pastors to keep these feelings to themselves.
He explained one motivation some pastors have for remaining silent. “Rather than reminding their church, in the name of ‘humility’, many pastors just soldier on, trying to convince themselves that they don’t need to feel appreciated. But also, quietly growing bitter towards their congregation, or demoralized by the thought that no one cares.”
Sons argues this response is not truly based in humility. He points to several Scriptures as guidance for pastors and church members in this situation. 1 Thess. 5:12 and 1 Tim. 5:17 instruct believers to honor their leaders, while Acts 20:27 instructs preachers to teach all of God’s Word, which includes the previous passages.