Written by Jeff Boyer, CFP, AAMS, GCR Elder
October, what a great month! Fall weather and all its glories arrive. We start to enjoy sweater weather, pumpkin-spiced EVERYTHING, outdoor fires, apple picking, Major League Baseball playoffs, and memories with our closest friends and family. But there’s another reason I love October … we get to celebrate our pastors. October is traditionally recognized as the month when we show pastors our appreciation.
I love the pastors at GCR. I’m so thankful for the love, devotion, care, and concern they continually show us. I’m appreciative for all the hard work that goes into preparing our Sunday morning services. I’m grateful for the care they show in hospital visits and the prayers offered up for those who are sick or hurting. I’m humbled by their commitment to Jesus and to serving others.
Several years ago, God prompted my heart to be more concerned with the care of our pastors. Pastors often care for the wounded; but it’s easy to forget that they have their own needs and wounds. Christian author and pastor Paul David Tripp asks us to ponder the question, “Have you ever thought about your pastor and asked, who is my pastor, and what does he need in order to remain spiritually healthy and grow in grace? Does it seem right and healthy that in many churches the functional reality is that no one gets less of the ministry of the body of Christ than the pastor does?” Likewise, author Carey Nieuwhof states, “As shepherds, pastors are called to sacrificially provide for their flocks. But who is there to care for them when they are in need? Too often, no one.”
Pastors are people too. In addition to shepherding and caring for the needs of many people, they have personal challenges, concerns, needs, and desires just like we do.
To name just a few:
– life and family balance (work/life balance)
– financial pressures
– spiritual battles
– emotional health
– desires to provide for their family
– retirement needs
– leisure time
– pastors need prayer … lots of prayer.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 (NLT) Paul writes, “Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other.” The author of Hebrews affirms this request, “Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow,” Hebrews 13:17 (NLT).
Over the course of the next few weeks we will be providing some practical ways for which we as a church can care for our pastors; but in the meantime, I would exhort all of us to live out the advice offered by the Apostle Paul and the author of Hebrews by challenging you to wholeheartedly love on our pastors and give them reason to be filled with joy. Let’s honor our pastors by intentionally encouraging them and by caring for them in practical and tangible ways.
Ways to Bless Those in Leadership
Throughout the following month, we encourage you to consider blessing our leadership in one or more of the following ways. We’ll also be sharing more about each pastor and leadership team to help you get to know them better!
1) Pray for them and their families
2) Send them an encouraging email or a handwritten note of gratitude
3) Ask them how you can help
4) Drop off some coffee and pastries at the church offices—or some pizzas!
5) Coordinate with your community group and do an act of service for them (make a meal, tackle a house project, babysit and send them on a date night, etc.)
6) Pick up a gift certificate to a favorite restaurant or coffee shop