I have known pastors for most of my life. I have been a pastor since 1981. In my present position I am around pastors daily. Pastors come in all shapes and sizes, backgrounds and gift mixes. There is one common denominator, they have a call from God on their lives. The call of God is what will hold the pastor through the tough times.
A few years ago I wrote the following and I still believe it today:
This blog is being written as I watch the National league playoffs. The fans in the stands are waving towels and screaming at decibel levels usually reserved for train wrecks and meteor crashes. Fans are cheering for their hometown favorites! One would not have to declare October as Baseball player appreciation month, it is in full bloom and on display for all to see.
Our world is filled with people who do deserve a month set aside in order to show our appreciation, I am thinking about pastors. These women and men who have answered the call of God on their lives and stepped out into the unknown future for one reason only, that they are convinced they heard the voice of God. The call not only involves hearing the voice of God, it also entails being examined and vetted by the church. Preparation is an ongoing process that may include college and graduate school, and will include lifelong continuing education . The word pastor means shepherd. The Great Shepherd Jesus said to Peter in John 21 “Feed my sheep, and take care of my lambs.”
Allow me a few moments to describe shepherds. Shepherds feed and care for sheep. At times it is a thankless, stinky and difficult task. We sheep have minds of our own, and we want what we want when we want it. We get sidetracked easily which is probably the reason we get into a lot of trouble. We get bruised and hurt and constantly need help. Into this void steps the God-called pastor!! I for one am thankful for my pastors. One of my pastors is still living in Illinois, his name Wil Watson. I never called him by his first name, because well in those days we did not call them anything but Pastor. I learned from Pastor Watson that Pastor is not a title it is a relationship. He was not my pastor because the Church Manual said he was, or because the church board nominated him and the congregation elected him. He was my pastor because he was my shepherd! He cared about me, and I knew it.
Some have the idea that being a pastor is easy. Yes I have heard many, many times, it must be great having a job where you only work one day a week. Pastors, are on call 24-7, Pastors have had to cut vacations short because of emergencies back home. They have had to leave their family for an hour or two in the evening, to help put someone else’s family back together. My pastors helped me grow spiritually by preaching the Bible and administering the sacraments and speaking into my life.
Today pastors are under constant pressure to be better, do better, improve and make things happen. The culture today is no ally to the pastor. The pastor seems to get it from all sides. Could I call a time out and ask you to help me? Would you right now this day send a card, make a call, write a note and let your pastor know how much you appreciate them? If you are able, give them a gift card or a gift of cash, so that they may do something special with their family. Your pastor is not looking to get rich. If you want to see your pastor be encouraged a note of thanks and a tangible gift would be an immeasurable blessing.
I am going to live the rest of my lives being a crazy towel waving fan for pastors. Any one can complain and criticize (and they do and will), how about being an encourager for your pastor today. Go ahead you can do it. I am seeking an army of pastor encouragers. Are you in? Do something special for your pastor this month. You will make a difference in their lives and ministry. Now on the count of three… Yay Pastor!!!