I am always grateful when pastors and church members share with me topics of interest to them. Those suggestions tend to be viewed by more readers than my own ideas. I guess that says something about my creativity!
A reader recently indicated his curiosity and perhaps concern about how pastors are treated at Christmastime. In the course of posts similar to this one, I typically hear from one or two persons who are eager to point to pastors who feel entitled or who are treated too lavishly.
Please hear me clearly: Those pastors are the clear exceptions. Most pastors receive little and expect little. They see their clear call to serve and to care for the congregation.
The Question and the Concern
So I asked a simple question on Twitter: "What do you do for your pastor at Christmastime?"
For pastors, I asked what their congregations gave them at Christmas. Though my survey was not scientific, it was nevertheless revealing. I am truly concerned about how congregations treat pastors. I thought the issue of the Christmas gift would at least be an indicator of such concern.
The Responses and the Heartbreak
There were two dominant responses, each at about 40 percent of the total. One of those came from pastors or church members who shared with me they indeed did give a gift to their pastor during the Christmas season.
The most common gift noted was a cash gift equivalent to one week of salary. The pastors who received such a gift expressed deep appreciation for the thought. I sensed no attitudes of entitlement in their responses.
A second dominant response, from both pastors and church members alike, was that the pastor received nothing at Christmastime. Church members were more likely to comment on this attitude than pastors. One person said, “If it’s anything like pastor appreciation month, they won’t even know it’s Christmas.”
My heart broke as I read many of those type of responses. My pain is not so much related to the failure of a church to give a monetary or material gift; rather, it’s the failure of a church to acknowledge the gift that a pastor is during this season.
The Exhortation and the Inquiry
There are a few hundred thousand pastors in America. The vast majority of them sacrifice and give for the sake of their congregations and for the glory of God. Many of them struggle financially and, often, emotionally. A gift of some sort would do wonders for the pastor and the pastor’s family. The amount or cost of the gift is not the issue here; it is the encouragement the pastor receives when he knows he is loved and appreciated.
As we approach the season of Christmas, please remember your pastors and staff. Please let them know in some tangible way how much you truly value them.
And I would also appreciate your help informing this issue. What does your church do for the pastor and staff? What do you think your church should do for these servants of Christ?
Thom S. Rainer is president of LifeWay Christian Resources. For the original article, visit thomrainer.com.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Dr. Steve Greene is now sharing stories, teachings, and conversations with guests who lead with love on Love Leads, a new podcast. Listen now.
Help Charisma stay strong for years to come as we report on life in the Spirit. Become an integral part of Charisma’s work by joining Charisma Media Partners. Click here to keep us strong!
Dr. Mark Rutland's
National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)
The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. taught by Dr. Mark Rutland. If you're the type of leader that likes to have total control over every aspect of your ministry and your future success, the NICL is right for you!
FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like you’re not growing? Do you need help from an expert in leadership? There is no other leadership training like the NICL. Gain the leadership skills and confidence you need to lead your church, business or ministry. Get ready to accomplish all of your God-given dreams. CLICK HERE for NICL training dates and details.
The NICL Online is an option for any leader with time or schedule constraints. It's also for leaders who want to expedite their training to receive advanced standing for Master Level credit hours. Work through Dr. Rutland's full training from the comfort of your home or ministry at your pace. Learn more about NICL Online. Learn more about NICL Online.