In 1994, Focus On the Family named the month of October Clergy Appreciation Month. I was curious why it started and they have a statement found on their Clergy Appreciation Month website to explain why they began celebrating it. Basically, they feel that giving appreciation to the pastors is a Biblical practice and they express the importance that congregations give their pastors encouragement throughout the year. I have to admit that since I am a pastor's wife, I feel strange writing about this topic; however, I feel that it fits in with the verses I am looking at today. I want to say before digging in, that my husband has felt blessed in all the congregations he has served and this is not written based on our personal experiences. I am writing this because this is where I felt God leading me this morning. Even though my husband is a pastor at our church, I need to be reminded of this because there are other pastors on staff at our church (as well as the support staff I work with) and I need to appreciate all of them as well. Please turn to Ephesians 4:6-13.
These verses tell us that the church has been given gifts, and the gifts are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. I think it is interesting that we are told that these people are Christ's gifts to the church. The Greek word, didōmi is translated as gifts in the NLT. BlueLetterBible.com listed several definitions for the word, but the all encompassing theme is to give. One of the definitions is "to give someone as his own" and going further it says "to give someone to care for his interests," (please see footnote 1). God has given the church these people to care for the church. These church leaders are truly a gift from God.
We are also told that their responsibility is to equip the church to do God's work and to build up the church. I don't know what you think, but I believe that is a huge responsibility. This is not easy because the pastor has so many different personalities and needs within one congregation. The pastor has to make difficult decisions for the direction of the church and has a lot of conflicting opinions leading up to those decisions. We may disagree with our pastors at times, but the most important thing is to ask ourselves, "Am I praying for my pastor?" I believe that the best thing we can do for our pastors is to pray for them. Offering encouragement and thanks is important, but backing up our church leaders in prayer is essential.
Do you look at your church leaders as a gift from God to the church? Are you encouraging and praying for your church leaders?
Linking up with Thought Provoking Thursday.
1. Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for didōmi (Strong's 1325)". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 19 Oct 2011. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?