Before I begin, let me say that I have been on both sides of the fence; I have served under many Pastors and for the past 17+ years, I have served with my husband as we have labored as Pastor's . In both roles, it has been an honor and privilege to serve my Pastor.
Let's understand what the word "serving" means, or rather, what it doesn't mean. Serving your Pastor does not mean that you will always agree or see eye to eye. I have not always been on the same page as my Pastor and certainly not the one I am married to at all times. God never said to agree always but He did urge us to honor them and be at peace with one another:
"And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their works sake." (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13)
The role of "Pastor" is one of the five gifts of church leadership office as outlined in Ephesians (4:11-13) and it is considered a gift that God has bestowed upon the church. Serving in such a capacity is truly an awesome blessing while at the same time overwhelming as God raises the bar for accountability.
I am sure that each of you love and appreciate your Pastor as I do mine. As someone who gets to go home with her Pastor, I can tell you that the hat your Pastor wears on Sunday morning doesn't come off when they leave the building. A Pastor is on call 24/7, and will be at your hospital bedside, your loved ones funeral or your child's school function as often as they can be. Many times putting their needs and their families needs aside. A Pastor not only loves their congregation but they pray for them and serves them endlessly and selflessly. I guess this is why we take this time out to appreciate our Pastors efforts, because many times we have no idea what all these dedicated men and women do behind the scenes and we take it for granted.
We always appreciate the lunches and dinners this time of the year, not to mention the pies and cakes, but can I give you 3 simple things from God's Word that will encourage your Pastor more than anything and not even cost a dime?
1. Serve with your Pastor. No Pastor can do it alone and shouldn't do it alone. Be an armor bearer.
"Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins," (James 5:19-20)
2. Submit to your Pastor. Even in differences, God says we are to submit to the authority that He places over us. Always seek peace in all that you do, not only with your Pastor present but also when he/she is not around.
"Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy, not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you." (Hebrews 13:17)
3. Stand with your Pastor. Just like you get discouraged, so do Pastors. They carry a heavy load and they need not only the first two things I mentioned, but they need your support too. When things are going great and when things are alittle rocky - support your Pastor! Pastors need to know that you are on their team.
"Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine." (1 Timothy 5:17)
There are so many other things I could write on this topic, but for the sake of space today, I would urge you, if it is hard for you to do any of the above 3 things, then first and foremost, please saturate yourself in prayer. Pray for your Pastor, pray for your church and pray that God would use you to be the encouragement that not only your Pastor needs, but that God needs you to be.
I hope your Pastor has a great Pastor Appreciation week; bake a cake or something sweet if you want, but don't forget to let your spiritual leader know that you love them and are praying for them. Prayer is the best gift any Pastor could receive.