Stories of Clergy Appreciation

By Focus on the Family Canada

Our dear friend, H.B. London, who has now gone home to be with the Lord, initiated Clergy Appreciation Month through Focus on the Family many years ago.

Among other things, he reminded us that:

“The nature of the service provided by pastors and their families is unique. God has entrusted to them one of the most precious of assignments – the spiritual well-being of his flock. When a pastor becomes ineffective, the very souls of his or her parishioners are endangered. When eternity is in the balance, we should all be concerned.

“Pastors and their families live under incredible pressures. Their lives are played out in a fishbowl, with the entire congregation and community watching their every move. They are expected to have ideal families, to be perfect people, to always be available, to never be down and to have all the answers we need to keep our own lives stable and moving forward. Those are unrealistic expectations to place on anyone, yet most of us are disappointed when a pastor becomes overwhelmed, seems depressed, lets us down or completely burns out.”

Pastors, we know we are “preaching to the choir” as we observe Clergy Appreciation Month in this e-newsletter. For that reason, I made an effort this fall to survey our staff, asking them to share with me some of the things they especially appreciate about their pastor(s).

Though their comments were directed at a specific leader that they love and appreciate, we know that the same could be said about many of you. So we hope that you will be encouraged today by “listening in” on some of the affirmations that have been shared with me about the ministry of our Canadian pastors:

“I so appreciate my pastor’s preaching, thoughtfulness, how he demonstrates a servant heart, how you sense his care for the congregation as a whole and for each one, the priority he gives his family.”

“At this stage in my life, it touches my heart when I hear/see that my pastor seeks out my young adult children to see how they are doing, go for coffee or just catch up in the church foyer.”

“Our pastor has a very caring approach when someone in the congregation is grieving and shows it in his ongoing prayer, words of encouragement and many other tangible forms of assistance. I have experienced his compassion first-hand and will never forget his kindness.”

“When we experienced a miscarriage, our pastor and his wife came and just sat and cried with us. They didn’t try to have all the right answers, they just ministered to us with their presence and time.”

“I appreciate all of the hours of study he does to teach us from God’s Word. I love walking away with something meaty to think on and a conviction in my heart to live differently.”

“Our lead and associate pastors are embarking on only their second year in ministry with us. We waited, and searched, and waited a long time for these two guys and are thankful for their ‘yes’ to our invitation to come. Differently gifted, they work wonderfully well together, encourage the pastoral staff and congregants alike, and have deep hearts for the Gospel and how we live it out. Humble guys, both of them, which is all too often rare in ‘out front’ leaders. We are blessed God has chosen them for us in this season.”

“As I think about the pastoral team at our church the word balance comes to mind. This balance is reflected in a trifold nature: they possess a passionate pursuit in their walk with Christ, they aspire to be great mothers and fathers, and they demonstrate a tremendous commitment to the mission of the local church.”

“I love it that our pastor (in a big, multi-staff, multi-service) takes time before the service starts to go around and shake hands and greet people who are in the sanctuary. I know he has 100 other things on his mind so for me this is a big deal. It makes people feel cared for and part of the body even in a big church. He also has instructed his staff to do the same thing. Having said that it doesn’t feel forced.”

“When my husband was in the hospital last year, our pastor was constantly in touch with me seeing how things were going and he regularly visited as well.”

“I appreciate that my pastor took the time to get to know people and see the spiritual gifts they had been given and helped them find ways to use their gifts for the good of the church.”

“Our pastor does themed messages which we really enjoy each week (also makes you not want to miss a week).”

“I loved it when one of our pastors took time to empower teens to be leaders among their peers. That was encouraging and life-transforming for some of them.”

“When a friend’s young son passed away, our pastor was such a strength and comfort to the immediate family and the church family.”

“I appreciate that our pastor teaches the full counsel of God’s Word – all of it. He teaches verse by verse, chapter by chapter, and book by book. His teaching compares Scripture with Scripture, not a minute of a Bible passage and 45 minutes of his opinion.”

“I appreciate our assistant pastors’ heart of compassion for the congregation, and for wanting to deal with things according to Scripture.”

 

Pastors and spouses, please know that at Focus on the Family Canada, we love you and appreciate the investment you make in leading, studying, caring, serving, balancing many needs and hearing the voice of God for the people he has entrusted to you. We know that this is no small calling and we know that it demands a lot from you. We hope someone in your immediate circle takes the time this month to personally acknowledge your ministry, but to each one of you, please accept our deep thanks for the work that you do – it has value for eternity!