This month is recognized as Clergy Appreciation month and let me urge you to take time, in some way, to recognize and celebrate the pastor or pastors who serve God’s people in your worshiping community. A simple note of encouragement or affirmation can be so significant. Even if there isn’t a pastor currently serving in your congregation, this is a great time to celebrate the Office of the Public Ministry, which God has given to His Church. In an escalating secular society Clergy Appreciation is more than just another Hallmark opportunity.
It is truly an opportunity to lift high God’s shepherds and then encourage them for the work they do. So much of pastoral ministry goes on “out of sight” of the average congregational member. And while there are a variety of opinions among congregational members of what a pastor “should” do, it is primarily the role of a servant. I can testify that many of the pastors I encounter are faithful chosen men of God in carrying out their responsibilities. We aren’t called because of our skills or wisdom. It’s an act of grace. Jesus reminds us in John 15:16, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you to bear fruit, fruit that will last.” Certainly that applies to all Christians, but I think it is especially relevant for God’s pastors.
In Jeremiah 23:4 we read, “I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the Lord.” God has called the pastor to be a care-giver. His is the role of foot washer. His leadership is derived from the relationships He builds. The Holder of this precious Office should never misuse it as a platform for authority or to abuse God’s sheep. In fact, God warns against this.
So, let me encourage you to take time to celebrate Pastor Appreciation Month. Certainly this is a time to show honor and appreciation to those serving in the Office of the Public Ministry. However, it’s also an opportunity for the clergy to celebrate and appreciate the calling God has placed on their life and to celebrate the relationships we are privileged to have among the sheep! May those who pastor and the flock they pastor celebrate the special relationship God has given us in Jesus. Happy Pastor Appreciation Month!
Check Out a variety of resources at these web sites:
Your fellow servant,
Rev. Gregory S. Walton, President
FLGA District, LCMS