October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It’s also National Dyslexia Awareness Month, and National Bullying Prevention Month. We are bombarded with monthly observances and even daily ones like National Homemade Cookies Day, National Pumpkin Seed Day, and National Kite Flying Day. But there is an important one this month that tends to get overlooked…National Pastor Appreciation Day.
I think too often people that attend church think that the pastor just “works” on Sunday. During a week, not only does a pastor have to find time to study and craft a different sermon each week, but he/she will have appointments with people to help direct them with personal issues in their lives. They visit the sick in the hospital or at home, work with their staff on the various programming at their church, and they have committee meetings throughout the week (usually in the evenings). If they serve on conference boards or committees they have those commitments as well. These are just a few of the ongoing items that are on most pastors calendars in any given week. And the unexpected funerals that come along too often.
It’s really easy to sit in the pew and criticize. I’ve done it, so I know what I’m talking about. Maybe you are thinking, “Her sermon is too long, I don’t like how he does the children’s sermon, He needs pants that fit better, Communion hasn’t started and it’s 10 minutes until 11!” You may think I’m making those comments up, but as a pastor’s wife, I’ve heard them all, and then some.
Pastor’s give of themselves completely…sometimes at the expense of their own family time. And when a person in the church, who is not doing ministry to further the mission of the church and has an agenda, that one, cruel, vindictive person can make a pastor’s life miserable, even when the pastor has nothing to hide or explain.
When people hear that I am the wife of a pastor, I’ve had them say, “Oh, my, what a wonderful life!” I just nod my head and won’t usually tell them that some of the cruelest people I have met in the world of church work have been those “good Christians” who are “working for the Lord.”
Don’t get me wrong, 98% of the people are hardworking, honest, wanting-to-follow-God-in-every-way-possible kind of people!
But when one or two get in their minds that the pastor, or the youth director, or the music director…whoever the church leader is that they are targeting, is not doing their job the way they want it done, or they are sneaky and try to find things that will discredit the targeted individual, they are working against the church, not for the betterment of the church, but for the destruction of that person. Not only are they attacking and destroying that person’s call to ministry…their heart and soul, they are hurting the entire congregation.
Tonight I pray for all pastors no matter the denomination. My heart goes out to these amazing men and women because they live the words of Mark 12:30. The are out in the world ‘loving the Lord our God with all their hearts and all their souls and with all their minds and with all their strength.’
That’s the kind of pastor I have. I hope you do too.