Since 1992, October has been designated as Pastor Appreciation Month. I graduated from seminary that year and began my fourth year of ministry as the pastor of a local church.
I confess that this annual month of appreciation embarrassed me at first. I thought, lots of people have difficult jobs so why do pastors need a special dose of appreciation and encouragement?
It seemed to me like we pastors were in need of coddling. Honestly, we don’t have plumbers’ appreciation month, so why treat the pastors with such tender care?
Over the years, three things changed my mind and my attitude toward this month of Pastor Appreciation.
First, it helped me. I found that the cards, the cookies, the kind words strengthened my resolve to do the work to which God had called me. I especially looked forward to the hand-drawn cards from the preschool classes.
Second, over the years I came to recognize how consistently the Word of God calls us to place high value on the work of the pastor. Appreciation is more than an expression of gratitude; it is a declaration of value and high esteem.
Pastor Appreciation Month teaches our young people that the man who will embrace this role pursues a worthy work. “It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do” (1 Tim. 3:1).
Finally, I realized one thing that distinguishes the life and work of a pastor. The pastor lives and serves under attack.
Our enemy works day and night to undermine the shepherds of God’s flock. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12).
Our enemy knows that he can inflict maximum damage on the church by bringing down the pastor. Thus, though there are a lot of tough jobs, the work of the pastor is done under the pressure of the accuser of the brethren. This enemy is a master of discouragement.
If you have not done so already, voice appreciation to your pastor this month. In fact, it would be acceptable to make every month a time to appreciate your pastor.
“But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another” (1 Thess. 5:12-13).