So here we are … it’s Pastor Appreciation Month. This is the time of year when some congregations take the time to express their gratitude to people serving in ministry.
I think I’m supposed to appreciate this appreciation and to champion its cause, but I’ll be honest: I almost hate this month’s focus.
I can’t say I outright hate it, because that’ll probably get me in trouble with someone out there and the comment section of this blog will blow up. So I’m playing it safe here. I almost hate it. Maybe it’d be better if I said that I dislike the idea of Pastor Appreciation Month.
Here are five reasons why I dislike Pastor Appreciation Month:
1. October is only 31 days long.
This afternoon, Able, Kenny and myself were talking about the struggles of pastoral ministry. We were acknowledging that no one has a clue about the pains of ministry unless they have really been in it.
I mean, being a human being is tough enough, right? We have relationship problems just like everyone else. Our kids go through difficulties just like everyone else. And on top of that, not only do pastors shoulder their own personal difficulties and the difficulties of their close loved ones, they shoulder the pain and sorrow and challenges that people in their church go through!
Pastors share your life’s complexities on a regular basis. Rarely do they get 3 a.m. phone calls to inform them that someone’s won the lottery. They get 3 a.m. phone calls for deaths, sickness or more. When Kenny voiced this, I think all three of us got emotional and had one of those silent bonding moments where we thought, “Wow, these guys get me.”
The writer of Hebrews reminded his readers that church leaders are called to keep watch over people’s souls (Heb. 13:17). Who would have thought that this included more than just laboring in preaching and teaching?
It includes hours upon hours of mediation and training and meetings. Not to mention the hours of prayer and anxious reflection.
So, while your appreciation in the form of a card or a small gift is nice, you might want to remember how much they do for you throughout the year! Ministry is hard and stressful and people often have no clue about the stuff that pastors are dealing with because it’s confidential.
Say thank you and show appreciation in May, OK? You should appreciate people who serve in ministry far more than once a year.