Did you know that along with breast cancer awareness, Columbus Day, and Halloween; October is also Pastor Appreciation month.
This time of the year is very dear to my heart because my parents are pastors and have been in ministry for 14 years.
As their daughter, I have witnessed firsthand the time, effort, sacrifice and struggles that my parents have had to go through as they continue to fulfill the call that God has placed on their lives.
What Is A Pastor?
According to the KJV Dictionary, a Pastor is:
1. A shepherd; one that has the care of flocks and herds.
2. A minister of the gospel who has the charge of a church and congregation, whose duty is to watch over the people of his charge, and instruct them in the sacred doctrines of the Christian religion. (KJV Dictionary)
In plain English, a Pastor is the leader of the church who is ordained by God to watch over, care for, and instruct the people that God has put in their care.
I emphasize ordained by God because there are many people who are pastors but have not been called to that office. (But that’s another topic)
Your Pastor has a great calling and a great burden to bear because he is tasked with caring for God’s people and will be held responsible for leading God’s people astray.
Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that [is] unprofitable for you. (Heb 13:17, emphasis mine)
Can you imagine being held personally responsible for the souls of the people that attend your church?!
Talk about pressure!
In today’s post, I will share with you 7 ways church members can support their pastors.
1. Participate in Service
45% of Pastors spend 10-15 hours a week preparing for a sermon, while 25 % spend 15 to 20 hours preparing.churchleadership.org, 2016
This is just the time that they spend preparing for Sunday service.
Most churches have a Sunday service and a mid-week service, so the pastor has to prepare two sermons each week.
When you add in the mid-week service most Pastors are probably spending closer to 20 hours a week preparing for service.
This study also reported that many Pastors struggle to create quality and meaningful sermons every week.
As a minister, I can relate to the time that it takes to prepare a meaningful sermon that will impact the congregation and spark change in their lives.
I get stressed out thinking about it and I only have to preach 3 times a year!
So, the next time your Pastor is up to speak show a little enthusiasm.
Nod, smile, say Amen, shout Hallelujah.
Let them know you hear what they’re saying.
They have worked hard to prepare a message just for you.
2. Get Involved
For some reason getting people to volunteer for things in church is like pulling teeth.
I would say that this is a small church, problem but there are plenty of large churches that have the same people volunteering for children’s church or to usher each Sunday.
However, your Pastor needs your help to reach the vision that God has given him for your ministry.
So he needs you to get involved in the ministry and lend a helping hand.
Besides that most pastors (54%) work 55 hours or more a week in ministry.
According to the research, 54% of pastors are overworked and 43% are overstressed.
Having church members that are ready, willing, and reliable can help a great deal in relieving the amount of stress your Pastor has to deal with.
3. Give Your Tithes and Offering
I can feel the eye rolls coming.
There are many people that feel like giving their money to the church is wrong because they believe the pastor is going to take it and squander it on nonsense.
Yet, we will spend $200 to go see Beyonce perform on stage and we know that money is going to support her lifestyle, and it’s ok.
Or we’ll go to the salon and get our nails and hair done every week (roughly $50-75 or $200/month) and that’s ok.
So why when it comes to paying our tithes and offering are we so stingy?
Despite what you may think most pastors are not con artists and a majority of the money they get goes back into the ministry.
According to the research, 57% of Pastors can’t pay their bills.
Which usually means that they have to work a full-time job as well as perform their pastoral duties.
So not only are they working 40hrs a week at a job, they’re putting in 10-20 hours preparing for a sermon each Sunday, plus going to visit the sick, answering phone calls and text messages from church members, and trying to meet the needs of their own families.
4. Encourage Your Pastor
34% of Pastors battle discouragement regularly and 35% battle a fear of inadequacy (2016).
In previous studies, this number was higher, but thanks to studies like the one I’ve been citing more church members have become more aware of the issues their pastor faces.
Everybody likes to be encouraged.
Especially, by the people that they so lovingly serve every week.
Write your pastor an encouraging note letting them know how much you appreciate them and what they do.
Call them just to check on them and see how they’re doing.
If something in the sermon really resonated with you, let them know.
A Kind word goes a long way.
5. Remember They Are Human
65% of pastors feel their family is in a “glass house” and fear they are not good enough to meet expectations (2016).
One thing that I was grateful for as a PK was that I was an adult when my parents went into ministry.
But even as an adult I can still feel the pressure from the members of the congregation to be “perfect”.
While some of you may think that I’m exaggerating research shows that 66% of church members expect a minister and family to live at a higher moral standard than themselves(pastoralcare.com)!
Your pastor is not perfect.
His family is not perfect.
They are human beings that have their own struggles and shortcomings just like the rest of us.
If your pastor doesn’t speak to you or is short with you don’t get offended and leave the church.
Perhaps they were having a bad day, or they just didn’t see you.
Remember church hurt doesn’t just happen to the congregation it happens to pastors too.
6. Give Your Pastor a Beak
78% of pastors report having their vacation and personal time interrupted with ministry duties or expectations (pastoralcare.com).
65% feel that they have not taken enough vacation time with their family over the last 5 years(pastoralcare.com).
One year for Pastor Appreciation month the members of the congregation pitched in money to buy our pastors a weekend gateway at a local resort.
Of all the gifts that we have given them over the years, I believe they enjoyed that one the most.
Members of the congregation were instructed not to bother them and to direct all issues and problems to the ministers or deacons while they were away.
It was just a time for them to get away and relax.
7. Pray for Your Pastor
In my previous post, I talked about 10 things that all Christians should pray for your church leader was one of them.
In light of the statics that I’ve shared with you today I’m sure you can understand why they need our prayers.
If you need a few pointers on what to pray for you can start with these:
- Passion for God’s people
- Wisdom to lead God’s people
- A servant’s heart
- Friends that they can rely on (58% of pastors feel that they do not have any true good friends(churchleadership.org,2019)).
- Joy in ministry
Being a pastor is not an easy job. It takes a lot of self-sacrifice and humility.
Despite the statistics I’ve shared with you today, 90% of pastors feel honored to have been called to serve in the ministry and 78% said that if they did it over again, they would choose to be a pastor (Soulshepherding.org, 2016).
Pastor appreciation day is officially October 09, 2022.
Please show your pastor some love on pastor appreciation day and every day.
Now it’s your turn.
What statistics were shocking to you? How do you plan to support your pastor?
As always, keep Jesus in the center of everything you do.
Your sister in Christ,
Want to know more about supporting your pastor? Check out these books.