The Lord's Grace
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For Our Pastor
29 Sep 2005

     October – Pastor Appreciation Month - Sometimes pastors are the loneliest people in the church. Often their hours are long, their pay minimal, the criticism considerable and constant. Feelings of disappointment, discouragement, and defeat may begin to plague the best of them. Paul's admonition to "serve one another in love" (Gal. 5:13 ) should encourage us to remember our shepherds. Here are some simple ways you can encourage your Pastor during Pastor Appreciation Month of October . . . and all year long:
     Encourage your pastor. Scripture makes it clear that we are to give special affirmation to our spiritual leaders. In 1 Timothy 5:17 we read, "The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching." We know that we will be blessed each time we walk through these doors of our church.
     Attend church regularly. "The empty pew has an eloquent tongue," said one writer. "To the preacher, it says, ‘Your sermon is not worthwhile.’ The empty pew is a weight. The occupied pew is a wing." We thank God for using our Pastor to bring us HIS Word.
     Pray regularly. Ask God to shower your pastor with an abundance of love, joy, faith, peace, power, wisdom, strength and courage. Pray for your spiritual leader's maturity and growth in the faith. Many pastors pray regularly for members of their congregations. Who prays for those in ministry? See the 31 day prayer calendar for Pastor Appreciation Month of October at the bottom of these ideas.
     Volunteer - Use your skills to bless the church. We are all given different talents, and the church can use all of them. You will see abundant blessings from all you do for God. Only about one-third of all Americans donate their time and talents to their church home. In a recent Gallup poll, pastors cite this apparent lack of commitment as one of their biggest frustrations with the ministry.
     Discover your Spiritual Gifts, and actually DO something with them in your church. You may not do it perfect, but God does not ask us for perfection. All he wants is a humble servant. As they say, “Find a need and fill it.”
     Share your spiritual growth. Perhaps a particular sermon convicted you in a way you didn’t expect. Tell your pastor how his ministry has affected your walk with God. Better yet, take five minutes to write it in a note so he can reread it.
     Invite a friend to church. Most people are intimidated if a clergyman invites them to worship. They are more likely to come if invited by a friend. A leader is buoyed when he sees his congregation reach out and grow. Lets face it, this is our mission on earth as it says in the last three verses in Matthew, and God sees all that we do for Him.
     Cut the criticism, but if you must, criticize privately. Don’t spout your criticisms to others in the church. If the Pastor is doing something that bothers you, please talk to him. He needs to hear it from you, not from someone else. Take your concerns to the pastor directly. He’ll appreciate your honesty and the opportunity to share perspectives.
     Befriend his family. 80 percent of all pastors feel their jobs have a negative effect on their families. Pastors’ wives and children often feel isolated and pressured by high expectations. Small gestures can ease this burden. Try inviting his family for a meal, and lets face it, any month will do – any day will do. Pastors and their families need friends.
     Remember your Pastor on special days. Pastors celebrate birthdays, wedding anniversaries, Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter. These are wonderful opportunities to acknowledge your spiritual leader with a card, a note or a gift. Mobilize your congregation to express its gratitude to your pastor with a special event during Clergy Appreciation Month.
     Be an advocate. You needn’t agree with your pastor on everything. As your spiritual leader, however, he deserves your steadfast encouragement, especially during difficult times (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13).
     Say “Thank you.” A pastor is not just a preacher. He is an administrator, teacher, fund-raiser, janitor, counselor, arbitrator, leader and visionary. He works in a high-expectation environment in which he is constantly scrutinized and rarely applauded. It costs nothing to say, "Thank you for everything you are doing. I can see the Lord working through you." But those words are priceless to your pastor.
     Be openly responsive. Nothing so animates and excites a spiritual leader as seeing people respond to the preaching and teaching. Say "Amen!" (at the appropriate times) while he’s preaching. Saying "Amen" to a preacher is like saying "sic ‘em" to a dog.
     Throw away the measuring stick. Don't expect that your spiritual leaders will do things the same way as others. Lay aside personal agendas and preferences. Instead, focus on how your leader is being used by God to do effective ministry now. By serving your shepherds, you will ensure that they will be encouraged and feel appreciated and continue to minister with enthusiasm and energy.
     Squelch gossip. If you hear a negative comment, respond with a positive one. If misinformation is being spread, correct it with the accurate information. Or, if people are gossiping, just walk away. Remember the Bible soundly condemns gossip and careless speech. James 1:26 says, "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless." And Psalm 34:13 reads, "Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies."
     Hug him and the First Lady and tell them you love them. He and the First Lady probably love you more than many in your own family, so let them know it. And, Give them a real hug, and you know what I mean, because we can all tell the difference.
     Start tithing – If you aren’t already. Sure, any church can use the funds, but believe me, you will see more blessings from honoring God with that first ten percent than you could ever imagine. Try it for six months and see if God doesn’t open the windows of heaven as He promises in Malachi 3:10. Try tithing and you’ll find happiness and a whole new life.

     Now that you’ve read this list, actually do some of it – now, TODAY. Lets face it, You will find more blessings than you will ever believe by everything you do for the glory of God!

     Please share this message with all those you love – God bless!

     Don’t miss this beautiful opportunity – God bless you all!

Author Unknown

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