For years, October has been designated in the evangelical community as Pastor Appreciation Month. Focus on the Family began the emphasis as a means for churches to honor and encourage their pastors.
Pastors and their families need encouragers and supporters in their lives. I hope you pray for your pastor by name daily. When secular business and leadership guru Peter Drucker was asked what were the most difficult jobs in America, he responded: (1) President of the United States, (2) President of a college or university, and (3) Pastor of a local congregation.
All three of those jobs deal with the stress of the changing expectations, often emotionally charged, of their people.
I heard two different men speak who were both former CEO's of Fortune 500 companies that left the business world to become pastors. In unrelated conversations they said that pastoring a church was definitely harder than leading a Fortune 500 company. Interestingly, both men in unrelated interviews cited the same reason: In a company you have employees that must do what you tell them to do. In a church, 90% or more of your work-force are volunteers.
Charles Finney, accomplished evangelist of another era, experienced amazing conversions during his preaching ministry. A lesser-known fact is that Daniel Nash, a godly, praying man, covenanted to pray hard for Finney's ministry. Nash would often go into a town several weeks prior to Finney's arrival. His purpose was to being praying for God to be at work when Finney arrived.
Would to God that every pastor, evangelist, or missionary had a Daniel Nash! One account said, Charles Finney so realized the need of God's working in all his service that he was wont to send godly Father Nash on in advance to pray down the power of God into the meetings which he was about to hold.
Missiologist, professor, and former pastor Chuck Lawless posted an article last week called "Why I’d Be Hesitant to Go Back to the Pastorate." Hopefully, reading it will give you some motivation to pray for your pastor and his family daily:
"Some months ago, I posted on 8 Reasons I’d Love to be a Pastor Again. Since that time, I’ve had folks ask if I’d post something on the opposite: “Why I Would Not Return to the Pastorate.” I’ve given that topic considerable thought, and to be honest, I can think of no reason why I would absolutely not return to that role.
On the other hand, I can think of some reasons I might at least hesitate. So, to respond to the request for my reverse thoughts, here goes:
- Church folks can be a headache. So can folks in any ministry setting, of course, but the pastorate usually means you’re dealing with the headaches recurrently. Too often, overcoming the headache requires somebody’s leaving.