It’s Sunday morning, and the church is beginning to fill.  The pastor quietly considers the people sitting in the pews that morning.  He knows many of their stories:

 

  • The family grieving the son they recently lost in a motorcycle accident
  • The couple he saw on Tuesday for a counseling session
  • The dad who just lost his job
  • The newlyweds whose ceremony he conducted just last month
  • The grandmother struggling with the effects of her chemo and radiation therapy.

 

Yes, the pastor knows all these stories — and many more. As the service begins, he bows his head and prays that the words he speaks will be the words of God — words that will comfort, confront, encourage and engage his people to more authentic life in Christ.

 

But even as he ministers to and for his flock, the pastor and his family have their own story. It’s a story that those in the congregation may not know:

 

His reluctant daughter, sporting a new tattoo, is angry and tired of being under the “pastor’s kid” microscope… With a salary that is markedly less than the average income of those he serves, his personal financial pressures are unrelenting… His schedule never seems to allow enough time alone, time with his spouse or time with his children… And denominational duties often make it seem that his professional life is one big meeting after another.

 

Clergy Appreciation Month

A pastor’s job is as difficult as it is important. As our shepherds, teachers, mentors and God’s chosen servants, pastors exercise great love for the people of their congregation.  But they also must contend with their own families, personal lives, and finite resources of time, energy, and finances.

 

In October, you have a chance to say thank you. October is Clergy Appreciation Month. It’s a special time set aside to recognize and honor our pastors for all they do and all that they are.

 

At Pastors Retreat Network, we hear great stories of churches and individuals who already understand the importance of thanking their pastors in meaningful, tangible ways.  These three real-life examples give a partial picture:

 

One pastor talks about the elderly woman whose weekly notes (each accompanied by a piece of his favorite candy) tell him that she’s praying for him.

 

Another minister’s face softens at the memory of a parishioner who offered to watch her children one afternoon so the pastor could have some time for herself.

 

A clergy couple smiles widely as they remember the gift certificate to a nice restaurant, complete with free babysitting, given to them by a small group in the congregation.