“Pastor, I love you and appreciate you. You have made a difference in my life, and in those who are important to me. I give thanks to God for you.” Simple words, but powerful words. October is clergy appreciation month. It is a time evangelicals have chosen to demonstrate their thanks to God for His grace gift of “pastors and teachers” to the church. It is a wonderful opportunity for us to express thanks to God for those who minister truth and life to us.

After serving for 28 years as a local church pastor, it is still a relatively new thing for me to have a “pastor and staff.” My travel schedule gives me few times to enjoy their ministry, but I assure you they are very important to Polla and me. We love our church and the wonderful pastor and staff God has given us.

Of all the blessings my pastor brings to our family, none surpasses his consistent preaching and teaching of the Word. I never attend a service that I am not fed and refreshed by the truth as presented by our pastor. It is clear that he studies, prays and prepares himself to open the Word to the people. Scripture declares that pastors who give special attention to the ministry of the Word deserve double honor. If your pastor works hard at the ministry of the Word, tell him you notice and give thanks to God for him.

We live in a crazy mixed-up world, and many of the ways of the world have found their way into the church. The office and ministry of a pastor has radically changed. Some of this is due to a greater number of large churches. Yet, I do not think the biblical pattern has changed. A pastor is a shepherd of the flock. He feeds, leads and cares for the sheep. A pastor cannot divorce himself from the sheep and deserve the title “pastor.” Don’t mistake my point. Pastors cannot and should not jump at every bleat of the sheep. But a pastor does find ways to intersect with the hurts, sorrows and joys of the sheep.

Even though my pastor serves a large church, he walks among the people. He demonstrates love and concern. He listens and expresses concern for the sheep. The few times we have together, he is always attentive to me and shows his love and concern for me and my family. He is truly a shepherd.

Find a way to express your love for your pastor. In many cases, he has been there for births, deaths, weddings and a myriad of hurts in your life. Now is a great time to tell him how much you appreciate his sacrificial love.

I would encourage you also to take time to express appreciation to his family. Ministry wives and kids really do live in a fish bowl. Pastors’ families must live through a series of interruptions and stresses. They often must endure offhand, derogatory comments aimed at their dad. They deserve caring thanks for all they do to help their fathers meet the needs of the folk.

I hope every church finds multiple ways to shower their pastor and staff with love. I pray that members will do random acts of kindness for their pastors and families. Above all, stop to give thanks to the Father for His grace gift of pastor and staff in your life.

Bro. Hance, you are the best. (You married way over your head.) Julie, you truly are a picture of the best qualities in a pastor’s wife. Guys, thank you for giving up your dad so he can serve us. And to all the staff, I just say you are the best. Praise be to the Father for you.