2. Senior/lead pastors don’t do all of the ministry.
Every year, there are thousands of senior/lead pastors who receive cards and gifts and other nice tokens of appreciation while tens of thousands of associate pastors, elders, worship leaders and other pastoral church leaders are totally and completely overlooked.
Why? Because they aren’t the “senior” pastor.
Never mind the fact that I’m an advocate for the plurality of pastoral leaders (here), no effective pastor is doing it all on their own. He or she has a team of people who are praying alongside of them and who are shouldering a burden that most church members are unaware of.
For example, the other pastor of the church I serve is amazing. Don does more than anyone has any clue, except for his wife … and sometimes she probably doesn’t know everything either. Don doesn’t go around letting people know about the ministry and pastoral care he’s involved in. I find out about ways he’s been a blessing to people all of the time, after the fact.
And yet, for years, he has stood in the background of Pastor Appreciation Month. Sure, he’ll get an email or a card here and there, but who is thinking about giving him a financial gift or a steak dinner or a vacation?
You get my point? Be aware of the fact that ministry is often a thankless job and your gratitude throughout the year to everyone who serves you would be much appreciated!
3. Appreciation from people who make life a living hell.
Need I say more? OK, maybe I should.
A lot of pastors will receive cards and gifts this time of year from people who make that pastor’s life a living hell.
Often, these people make sure that these wonderful gifts are given in very public ways so that everyone in the church isn’t hip to the difficulties this person creates. For 11 months of the year, that person complains about everything under the sun: music is too loud, sermon is too long/short and so-and-so recently sat in their seat. But once October rolls around: “Pastor, we love you and appreciate you sooooo much! Here’s a card and a gift basket we bought for you!”
How about you difficult people keep in mind that your pastor has a difficult job and you can either be a blessing to him or make his life more difficult.
I’m not saying to avoid allowing him to serve you and to pastor you and to care for you. I’m just saying that constantly complaining about the drum volume or color scheme of the bulletin might seem a little silly when your pastor has spent the last three days trying to help a couple work through a marriage crisis.