October is Pastor Appreciation Month. This is the time of year when we go out of our way to do what we should have been doing all year long – letting our pastoral staff know we appreciate all they do.
We humans get easily frustrated or irritated with each other. Have you ever caught yourself criticizing your pastor or his staff as you drive home after a Sunday morning service? Remember, those little ears in the back seat definitely ARE listening and learning to be critical.
What caused your disparaging comments?
Songs were old and boring? Songs were new so you couldn’t sing along? Music too loud? Music too quiet so you couldn’t join in? The message didn’t pertain to you? The message was too harsh? The message was too placid and didn’t challenge you? The pastor spoke for too long? The pastor must’ve been hungry because he spoke for such a short time? The pastor forgot to give an altar call for salvation? The pastor gave an altar call AGAIN? The pastor told that same joke before? You didn’t get the pastor’s joke? You didn’t find the pastor’s joke funny? The children came out of children’s church too rowdy? The children came out too sleepy, so they must be bored? The children had no snacks and now they’re starving? The children were given sugar and now they’re hyper? The parking lot was too crowded? There is so much room in the parking lot you wonder what you are doing at a place no one else finds interesting enough to attend?
Those pastors–those poor men and women who have to lead us ungrateful, smelly, selfish sheep! It’s no picnic dealing with us week after week either. They just can’t win, can they?
For every criticism we can come up with, there is someone else walking away feeling on top of the world. They are blessed, challenged, excited, eager to reach out to others, and ready to have the best day possible. Wouldn’t we rather feel positive than negative? It’s OUR choice!
The next time we feel discouraging words dancing down our tongues, we must close our lips. We must smile, breathe deeply, and thank God for people who are humble enough to put up with us and others like us. Thank God for a shepherd who has patience, tenacity, and resolve to continue to do what God as called him or her to do, as unrewarding as it often is.
This month, let’s take time to write notes of appreciation. Let’s focus on our pastors, their wives, families, and THEIR needs. From a flower to a card; from a gift card for a high-end restaurant to a McDonald’s coupon; from a certificate for a weekend get-away at a nice bed and breakfast to an offer to watch their kids for an afternoon—let’s make the effort to show our gratitude tangibly.
Yes, October is Pastor Appreciation Month. Let’s do our best to show our gratitude!