I’m a PK — Preacher’s kid — and October is pastor appreciation month. Seems logical for me to write something about it. My dad has been a preacher all my life, and a pastor for most of that time. I’ve seen church ministry from the inside out for a long time. I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. So believe me when I write to say thank you, I really do see what pastors, and their families have sacrificed.
For my family, it wasn’t just “dad is a preacher, and we tag along.” Ministry was a whole family deal. Sure, dad did the pastoring jobs, but none of us were allowed to just sit and watch. I’ve been 30 minutes to an hour early, to church, nearly every Sunday of my life. There was no option to be too tired or busy for church. There was no “that is someone else’ job” either. I’ve seen my dad vacuuming church halls in his suit and tie right up until people began to arrive. I’ve seen him emptying trash cans, picking up gum wrappers, and sweeping the same way. My mom, siblings, and I have all done the same. Your pastor’s family does so much, that you may never see. His wife is probably playing piano, singing, teaching Sunday School, keeping nursery, or some combination of all of those things. His children are likely mowing the church lawn, or being asked last minute to keep nursery or teach a class to children during revival. He is spending his own money on small church repairs that need to be done ASAP. So this month, thank your pastor’s family.
And of all the things you do see your pastor doing there are dozens more going on behind the scenes. He spends hours a week studying and preparing to teach and preach. He prays for you and the other members of your church. He worries about things for you. He takes calls late at night or early in the morning, when he would rather be sleeping. He prays with you over the phone, or drops everything to drive to the hospital. He counsels and marries your children. He buries your aunts, uncles, parents, and friends who had no church home. He sucks countless cough drops to squeak through preaching while he should be home in bed. He fights back pain, kidney stones, family worries, and stress to stay focused on delivering God’s word to you and the congregation every week. So this month, thank your pastor.
When you do see your pastor he smiles, hugs your neck or shakes your hand. He asks about you. About the new job. About your children. He has his own concerns. His weekday job is rocky right now. His truck is broken down. His dad is sick. But he knows most people he speaks to on Sunday morning will unload on him, and then walk away without asking how he is doing. So this month, thank your pastor.
Then he stands up in front of the church. Maybe he leads music too. Maybe he just taught Sunday School. But now he comes to deliver the Message. He can see you are distracted. He knows that isn’t a Bible app you have pulled up. He hears you whisper to your friends, and he sees you get up for 3 bathroom breaks. He knows you keep checking your watch. All of these things are a huge distraction. But he keeps giving the sermon. He continues to do his job. Then he gets in the car, and turns to his wife… “did that make any sense? I struggled with that so much this week, and I don’t know if anyone heard it.” So this month, thank your pastor.
After all of this, he wonders. He loves you. Your pastor really does love you and your family. He wants the best for you. He wishes he could cast off your pain. He hates to see you suffer. But his job as your pastor, and thus roll as your friend, is always on the line. If he preaches too strongly on a subject will the church reject God’s word, and fire him? If he points out new ministry opportunities will people balk and leave the church? What if clearly false rumors begin to spread about him, or his family and the church kicks him out. After-all, he is human too. So this month, thank your pastor.
Really, having one month for pastor appreciation is such a huge down play of all that your pastor does for you. Thank him. Thank his wife. Thank his children. Thank the lady who makes coffee (or maybe your pastor does that too). Thank the nursery workers. Thank the Sunday School Director. Thank the sound team. Thank the guy taking out the trash. Ministry is hard work. It’s taxing. It can be stressful. Your pastor loves to serve, or he wouldn’t be there. So this month, thank your pastor.