Friday, October 21, 2011

Pastor Appreciation

As a "Preacher's Kid" and someone who is also going into ministry myself, Pastor Appreciation month is one of those times in the year that is bittersweet.  It is all about attitude though and that is something that I need to work on.  Pastor Appreciation is the time of year when people openly and secretly express to their clergy how much these people mean to them.  It is a wonderful thing to hear how much you have touched someone through your calling in life.  However, it is hard to ignore when others say nothing - it isn't so much about getting recognition and being thanked (that would be prideful, right!) but more so about whether or not your hard work is making any kind of difference in someones spiritual life to the point that they would acknowledge this work.

It's not about gifts and cards, it's about knowing that these children of God, who He has brought to you, also feel that God brought you to them.  It's not about "Thank Yous" as much as it is about knowing in your heart that these very precious people that you pray for everyday are also praying for you.

A very good friend of mine shared with me this letter that she found from Focus on the Family and it made me cry and we will be reading it in church on Sunday, here it is:

Why Honor Pastors?

Why is it appropriate to set aside a special time each year to give recognition and affirmation to our clergy and their families? How are their needs and circumstances different from those of carpenters, grocers or dentists? One distinction lies in the nature of the service these leaders provide. 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.
Another problem lies in the expectations placed on pastors. Numerous surveys have found that a very high percentage of pastors feel pressure to be the ideal role model of a Christian family—which is impossible, of course. As a result, four out of five pastors feel their families are negatively impacted by unrealistic expectations—whether self-imposed or congregation-imposed—and that ministry is an outright hazard to the health of their families. Indeed, the “pedestal” is not all it’s cracked up to be.
As pastors and their families try to please the God who called them to ministry while also trying to meet the expectations of their congregations, one result is dangerous stress. In fact, 75 percent of those surveyed reported experiencing a significant stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry.
Then, of course, there is the “fishbowl” aspect of ministry, whereby the entire lives of pastoral families seem to be on public display. Every private family situation quickly seems to become a congregational or community issue. This anxiety can only be heightened when financial pressures also come to bear, which is common since pastors typically make substantially less each year than their own board members and deacons. Nearly 70 percent of pastoral spouses work outside the home, most often due to financial need.
No one would choose to live life under these conditions unless they felt obliged to a higher, divine directive. Unfortunately, all too often, these are exactly the conditions under which pastoral families serve.
The good news is that we can make a difference! Clergy Appreciation Month is an attempt to counter the negative erosion in the lives of our spiritual leaders with positive affirmation.
Content Provided By Focus on the Family
Thank You Daddy!

1 comment:

  1. That was so honoring and fitting of your father. I loved it! You are an amazing daughter, and an even more amazing child of God! XOXOXO