October is clergy appreciation month

Posted on 10 October 2019 by LeslieM

The following quote was found in the 1996 Sept./Oct. issue of the Saturday Evening Post, “In 1992, layperson Jerry Frear, Jr., was brainstorming with church colleagues about how they might be of help to their minister when he glanced at a calendar and noticed that it was almost Groundhog Day. ‘I thought, if they have a day for groundhogs, there ought to be a day for the 375,000 clergy people in America,’ Frear says. So…for the last seven years the second Sunday in October has been set aside to show appreciation for our clergy.”

Focus on the Family is credited with building on, expanding, and popularizing pastor appreciation week, by calling October “Clergy Appreciation Month.” Hallmark saw a market and wanted in on the action and the first “Pastor Appreciation” greeting cards were sold in 2002.

Those who only observe a minister from a distance may feel his job is an easy one. Too often, people misconstrue that a pastor works one day per week, studies only one Book and mooches off generous people who host him occasionally for supper. That may be true for a few “so-called” ministers, but that is far from the truth for those pastors who are serving the Lord with their whole heart.

Pastors who truly love people will invest themselves into the lives of their congregation. They will weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. They sympathize and empathize with those God has entrusted to them. In doing this, many pastors struggle to separate work from personal life. They cannot just leave the office and forget the events of the day. They take the needs of others with them, agonize over them in prayer and wrestle with them through many sleepless nights.

Pastors and their families live in fish bowls and get observed and scrutinized from every angle. Pastors attempt to lead those who are frequently resistant to change. They listen to those who have strong opinions, and love those who announce how they would have done things differently. Serving others can at times be overwhelming.

The data reveals that 95 percent of those who enter vocational ministry will NOT retire from it. Hundreds of pastors are leaving the ministry every month; many pastors say that the ministry has negatively affected their marriage and family; and many pastors admit they would quit, if they had some other career option. The majority of pastors admit to walking a very lonely road that lacks deep friendships and the suicide rate among pastors is rising rapidly.

Whether you think your pastor needs it or not, let me encourage you to do something special to encourage them during the month of October. A simple note, a word of encouragement, an affirmation of support goes a long way toward inspiring your pastor. Show your appreciation by praying, encouraging, attending, supporting, participating, and protecting him when others speak evil. Throughout the year, give him a gift card to take his wife to dinner. Offer free childcare, wash his car, give him a gas card, bake his favorite cookies/pie, etc. The little things say a lot and are even more appreciated, when they are unexpected.

So, during October, be a blessing to your pastor, as well as, in January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, November and December. Your simple prayer or word of encouragement may be the thing that keeps him from being part of 95 percent that leave the ministry. I close with a special shout out to all of my pastor friends… thank you for your faithfulness and keep your eye on the Prize (Phil. 3:14).

Dr. Gary A. Colboch is Senior Pastor at Grace Church located at 501 NE 48 St. in Pompano Beach. For more information, call 954-421-0190 or pastor@gbcfl.org.

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