Pastors and churches have faced many unique challenges in 2020. At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of them had to quickly learn how to take their services online and develop creative ways to minister to their members and serve their community.
Even as some churches have started to gather again, in-person attendance typically isn’t what it was before. Additionally, congregations are often divided on whether or not the church should even resume in-person gatherings at the present time. Divisions over racial, social and political issues have made a pastor’s already difficult job even more challenging.
That’s why now is the time to let your pastor know how much you love and appreciate him.
Amid the ongoing challenges and uncertainties related to the coronavirus and other issues in our land, let me urge you not to forget that October is Pastor Appreciation Month. If there was ever a time when pastors need to know how much they are appreciated, it is now.
Many pastors are tired, discouraged, stressed out, overwhelmed and burned out. And this was before COVID-19 and everything else we have had to deal with so far in 2020. Church consultant and former president of LifeWay Christian Resources Thom Rainer recently wrote that the vast majority of pastors his team consults with are considering quitting their churches. I’ve heard similar sentiments from pastors here in North Carolina.
While I believe that pastors are called and committed to their churches, remember that they are still human. Church members can view pastors as spiritual superheroes, but they experience the same struggles and emotional highs and lows as everyone else. Questions and criticisms of a pastor’s ideas and leadership can be hard for them to accept because it can seem like and feel like a sense of rejection even if a church member doesn’t intend it that way.
And often pastors have few, if any, people they can share their struggles with. So encouraging your pastor and demonstrating how much you love and appreciate him may be more important now than it ever has been.
Let me encourage you to contact your pastor and tell him how much you appreciate him. In today’s time of social distancing, isolation and quarantine, receiving an encouraging word from a familiar person will go a long way. Trust me, because I know that pastors hear the criticism, which has been amplified during our current situation. So be an encourager to your pastor.
Look for other ways you can bless your pastor and his family. Perhaps your church could give your pastor and his family some time away for rest, relaxation and replenishment. Or consider a financial or physical gift that he would really enjoy.
Eddie Thompson, who serves as our senior consultant for pastoral ministries with the state convention, recently wrote an article for our website titled, “3 practical ways to encourage your pastor.” It includes some good ideas on how individual church members or a congregation can encourage and affirm their pastor.
Finding ways to show your pastor how much you appreciate him may look a little different this year, but let me encourage you to make sure that you do so. They really need it, along with your prayers.
“Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in word and doctrine.” — 1 Timothy 5:17 (NKJV)