This week, Pastors in many churches are being appreciated by their congregants. Most will be appreciated with money or material gifts, which is awesome. We show our appreciations of people and situations mostly by giving material gifts. Pastors could however use a lot more than material gifts. Pastoring a Church or Ministry in general is never easy. If it were just about writing and delivering sermons, gifted writers and orators will make Pastoring a stroll in the park. It however includes funerals, counseling couples who do not see each other in the right light anymore, chastising, disciplining a backslider, praying for a mother diagnosed with cancer, talking to someone who just lost a father or mother. Pastoring is hard work, and it is a difficult job too. Don’t get me wrong, Pastoring is a highly rewarding job, but there are parts of it that can easily wear a man down. Therefore, it is a job reserved for those who are called by God. While we are assured of the power and grace of God to carry the heavy load of Pastoring, there are times when a Pastor can succumb to the heaviness of the load.
In order not to be overwhelmed or get life sucked out of them, Pastors need the help of their congregation. Words of encouragement can help give life to a Pastor who is cracking under the weight of the serious responsibilities of a Pastor. Starting from the mundane to the magnificent, like, “Pastor, you are looking sharp today”, or, “Pastor, I am praying for you”. Let your words encourage your Pastor. Most often the words that get back to the Pastor are about things that are not done well. We hear about sermons that are too long. We hear about the Pastor who has not visited the congregants often enough. We hear complaints of not praying enough on a congregant’s matter. There is no doubt that the Pastor needs to hear all these things but let us not limit our feedback to the Pastor to these issues alone because the human brain has a way of prioritizing criticism over encouragement, because we are wired to recognize and be sensitive to threats. Let the Pastor hear it when you get the sermon. Let the Pastor hear it when you are encouraged by activities in the Church.
Speak life into your Pastor. An encouraged Pastor leads the congregation with joy and purpose. A discouraged Pastor leads a gloomy congregation. We look at Pastors often as superpower people in spiritual matters. The truth however is that while they may appear as very strong on the outside, usually for the congregant’s encouragement, they are hurting badly inside. And the thing is that when the Pastor’s spirit is lifted, the spirit of the Church is lifted. When the Pastor’s spirit is down, the Church loses her spirit completely. Let us all make it our responsibility to lift our Ministers up. And this is not limited to Pastors only but everyone who ministers in the house of God. A Worship leader comes up and sings powerful songs to lead the congregation to the throne of grace but is hurting deeply inside and no one recognizes this.
The best appreciation a Minister of God can receive is to be built up. No, not the flattery kind, but words that edify. You can build them up when you pray for them. The prayers of a congregation will lift their Pastor up. What kind of prayer will you pray? How about that prayer that Apostle Paul requested of the Romans in Romans 15:20-32? “Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me, that I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you.” Praying that a Pastor’s service be acceptable and that your fellowship with your Pastor is filled with joy and fresh anointing, is the best appreciation a Pastor can receive from his congregation.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying the giving of material gifts is not a way to appreciate. I am saying that words of encouragement show appreciation in a way that we may not be able to see, but the impact is so powerful, and it helps your Pastor serve you better. It is never too late to begin to appreciate your Ministers. It is Pastors’ Appreciation Day, say a prayer for them today. They will be happy and God will be pleased.
October 10, 2021– Pastor Simbo Odunaiya