In the economy of God, there is one position in the church reserved for special honor and responsibility—the office of pastor. Paul calls this gift to the church the pastor-teacher. When Paul chooses to give Timothy instruction on how to best lay a solid foundation in the churches where he ministered, he gave the office of bishop special attention. Most scholars see the office of bishop and pastor as synonymous.
Christian history places the office of pastor in high regard. The pastor is the undersheperd of the flock; he feeds, leads and serves the flock of God. He is the protector of the flock through teaching and preaching the Word of God. Truth trumps falsehood and evil, and the Word is the sword of the Lord. The pastor has the responsibility to wield the sword against all doctrinal enemies.
The office of pastor is special because of the relationships formed through his ministry. He marries and buries those whom we love. The pastor walks beside us in the difficult times of life, providing counsel and wisdom. He rejoices with us in those special times of births, graduations and successes in jobs and business. This is God’s wonderful plan for the pastor and his congregation.
Pastors deserve our support, prayers, encouragement and honor, and so do their families. I just read an article that says most wives of pastors are lonely and isolated. Those people in the church who can get close to a pastor and his family are few. One must have a special gift for honoring the man of God while recognizing his feet are of clay. To walk closely with your pastor is to see him and his family in times of hurt, frustration, pain and struggle, but it is also a cherished privilege because you get to see him and his family walk in faith and love for God and people.
October is Pastor Appreciation Month, which is a good time to honor your pastor and staff. It is not hard to come up with ways to say, “We love you. We thank you for serving us. You, your wife and your kids are special to us.”
It doesn’t take a lot to make a big difference in their lives. Some ideas include notes of love and encouragement, gift cards, money trees or a weekend away at a bed and breakfast or a hotel. Sunday School classes can provide dinner for a week for the pastor’s family; cook your best recipes and do it with love. You get the idea. Be creative.
While you are at it, why not include the other church staff? They serve and minster to you in many of the same ways as the lead pastor. They, and their families, also sacrifice and pour their lives out on your behalf.
Giving love and demonstrating generosity toward your pastor and staff is a good thing. Acts of love like those mentioned above will bring joy to you and mean the world to them. I recommend the deacon chairman and women’s leader of your church take the lead. Invite other leaders to join in as you creatively think of special ways that are uniquely meaningful to honor your pastoral team.
Thank you, pastors, for the way you serve the flock of God. We honor you.