This month is Pastor Appreciation Month. I'm grateful for the pastor who taught me as a young believer, the pastors who've led the churches Pam and I have attended in the last 20 years, and all the pastors I've been blessed to work with over the years.
I'm also deeply grateful for the privilege of serving as a pastor. Here's why I most appreciate pastors today:
- They're following an incredible calling to care for the souls of people (Heb 13:17). There's a weightiness to that calling that's hard to describe—and most pastors I know fulfill that calling with faithfulness and joy.
- Their work is never fully done. Even when they go home at night, they're still on call at some level. Crises seldom happen according to our schedules.
- They shoulder burdens few people know. In fact, they sometimes must carry them alone, and they often weep more over the sin of congregation members than those members do over their own sin.
- They do much of their work "behind the scenes." We see them publicly when they preach, but that assignment isn't the bulk of their work. Many are the hours they spend preparing sermons, visiting the sick, evangelizing the lost, counseling the hurting and raising up leaders.
- They work hard at balancing their personal and family time with congregational time. Not all pastors find this balance well—and their family often pays a price—but most pastors I know strive to do this task with diligence.
- They bear the responsibility of preaching the Word. That work requires seeking God's face, exegeting and interpreting the Word, crafting a sermon and delivering it. No pastor wants to misinterpret or misteach the Word; thus, their burden is great.
- They must deal with critique and criticism. Sometimes it's warranted, but often it's not. Many pastors could write a book on the surprising, odd, often nit-picky criticisms they've received. Yet, most pastors I know hear them with grace.
- They share all of life with their parishioners. Not even a family physician shares all of life: birth, conversion, baptism, graduation, marriage, parenthood, death and every major struggle and celebration between birth and death. Only pastors have that privilege, and I greatly appreciate their investment in our lives.
Let's celebrate pastors today. Tell us why you appreciate pastors.
Chuck Lawless is dean of doctoral studies and vice president of spiritual formation and ministry centers at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, where he also serves as professor of evangelism and missions. In addition, he is team leader for theological education strategists for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.
For the original article, visit chucklawless.com.
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