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Conventional Thinking: Pay it upward

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Gal. 6:10).

Our church family has been a real blessing to my family during good times and bad.

Some time ago, when we were facing a family medical crisis, our Sunday School class mowed our lawn for weeks on end, for which we were so grateful.

One of the teen boys who helped mow innocently asked his dad, “Dad, why are we helping them if they are already Christians?” You see, in this young person’s mind, helping someone was mostly done as a springboard to share the Gospel (which is a great idea).

Sometimes, though, if we are not careful, a lethargic attitude can rise up among Christians about doing nice things for those who are already part of the church.

Too often we forget to say “thank you” and express gratitude to those who feed us from God’s Word, as well as minister and serve in so many ways. Namely, we forget to thank our pastors.

October is Pastor/Staff Appreciation Month, and what better time to take opportunities to do just that? The Baptist Messenger has highlighted a list of resources at www.bgco.org/PastorAppreciation to help the people in the pews show appreciation.

These ideas can be done by people of every age. For example, children can make art or a thank you note, or pray over a pair of socks, give them to the pastor and attach a note that says “I prayed for you to be blessed the day you wore these.” Or teens and youth could help do yard work.

Any Sunday School class could have all its members wear “I love my pastor” stickers or buttons to church. Any class could take up a collection and buy some gift cards, or send notes of encouragement or offer to help with child care or family needs. Any church member who likes to cook could prepare and deliver baked goods.

When pastors were recently surveyed about what would mean the most, listen to some of these responses. “I am always given a card with a financial gift on pastor appreciation. I am thankful for both forms of recognition but most important to me is that they remember me and thank me for my service to the church.”

Another said, “A ‘younger me’ would need monetary affirmation, but the present ‘battle-worn me’ would just like sincere notes of encouragement.” One other said, “Speaking practically, receiving a getaway to a place of beautiful solitude with my family for a time of rest and reflection.”

One pastor said, “Being a pastor is mostly a wonderful blessing for my family, but, at times, it can also be very taxing on them. In light of this, the most meaningful gifts from my church have been things that our whole family can enjoy like a getaway to Branson. It also means a lot to me when the church recognizes my wife along with me.”

Pastors and ministers have a high calling, and they also have hard jobs. This October, try to think of ways you or your congregation can be a blessing to your pastor/staff and their family.

Who knows? Your words or gestures could be just the thing God uses to bless them for years to come, and something that also pleases the Lord. In other words, this October, we can pay it upward.

Brian Hobbs

Author: Brian Hobbs

Brian is editor of The Baptist Messenger.

View more articles by Brian Hobbs.

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