FENTON, MI – Tears welled in my eyes as worship began this recent Sunday. I’m not generally overcome with emotion, but about half of the people in the crowd Sunday morning at one time called me “Pastor.” It was so good to see them, reminisce about the special moments we shared together, and to see their continued faithfulness to the Lord. Many of the faces I looked at as I preached were of people who embraced my family, and loved us as we served God together.
There is a special bond that exists between a pastor and the people he serves. We celebrate some of life’s most joyous moments together - births, baptisms, marriages, and special occasions. We walk together through grief, loss, and many other difficult situations we face in life.
We left that church because God called our family to serve as missionaries in Brazil. That meant a lot of things. We sold almost all of our belongings in an auction because we could not take them with us. We left what had been our home for the final time after the auction, and drove to the church building. It was time to leave my keys in what had been my study. Shar, the boys and I formed a circle in the foyer. As we held hands, I said, “Let’s thank God for our time here and all the special friends we’ve made.” I started the prayer, but I couldn’t finish it. I was overcome with emotion. My dear wife finished the prayer for our family, and thanked God for the special bond we had with these precious people.
The kindness they expressed to us that Sunday was like the kindness we felt years ago as their pastor. It’s like we picked up where we left off. They were so gracious and said so many kind things. We laughed, hugged, took pictures together, and remembered. It was a welcome time of encouragement for Shar and me. Everyone likes being loved.
It is also an incredible privilege to be called “Pastor,” as well as an incredible responsibility - one that your pastor takes very seriously. He carefully studies the Bible so that he correctly teaches the “Word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:14-15). He prays for you and watches over your spiritual life as one who “...will give an account...” (Hebrews 13:17). He does the “...work of an evangelist” (2 Timothy 4:5) and equips God’s people to “...do the work of the ministry” (Ephesians 4:12).
As we enter Pastor Appreciation Month, let me encourage you to love on your pastor and his family. Express your appreciation to them. It will mean more to them than you will ever know. There are lots of ways to express love to your pastor. Have fun and get the whole church involved. Make a video of children in the church answering the question: What do you like about our Pastor?
Rather than T.P. the pastor’s house, have the students do a toilet paper drive. Adults could shower them with cards, give the family (or couple) a night out, or send them on a short getaway. One of the most enjoyable times I had was when I was “Roasted.”
Enter “Pastor Appreciation Month” in your internet search engine and you will find lots of ideas. Never miss the opportunity to celebrate your pastor’s dedication to the Lord and commitment to the church.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Durbin is the State Evangelism Director for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Before joining the state convention staff, Mike served as Church Planting Catalyst and Director of Missions in Metro Detroit since 2007. He also has served as a pastor and bi-vocational pastor in Michigan, as well as International Missionary to Brazil.