We love to manufacture any reason we can in order to honor ourselves. To be perfectly candid, that is my struggle every October. Posted across every email or direct mail I receive from ministry website/businesses is this banner "Pastor Appreciation Month." If I say anything to others (whether in person or via social media), am I fishing for complements or a handout? For all the above and whatever else I may have overlooked in this cursory examination concerning motives for "Pastor Appreciation..." I am approaching the issue head on by seeking to honor those whom God has placed in authority over me.
In this post you will find pictures, both digital and written, which will seek to provide; encouragement for those disillusioned by "the church," honor for those God has given the gift of leadership to, some practical suggestions as to how we appreciate our pastors/elders, and most importantly...obedience to Scripture.
I Peter 5:5 "Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.""
Galatians 6:6 "Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches."
I Thess. 5:12-13 "We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work."
Harnessing the wealth of maturity that each of these men possess into a few scant sentences and then relating how it has personally impacted me is not exactly a simple task. With that said, here goes:
Don Blair - Don is patient, methodical and discerning. Every other Monday we meet to pray for one another and the church as a whole. In these meetings, time and again, his discernment add to my own maturity. I see things as they are and want to move on something too quickly. Don's patient and discerning ways have greatly impacted me - teaching me that the Lord is patient with me. I am learning to be a better shepherd because of Don! Thank you Don for being patient, methodical and discerning, just like Jesus for me and for NCF!
Steve Meyer - Steve's personality and the way he relates to people are genuine and very unassuming. he can make anyone I know feel welcomed, cared for and important. However, the thing that strikes me most of all about what the Lord has used Steve to teach me is simply his laser-like focus on the mission. We are always and ever to be people who live out our gospel-identity making disciples. As a pastor he looks me square in the eye and asks the hard questions of my leadership that grow me. Thank you Steve for being an unassuming leader who is genuine and laser focused on the mission of God, just like Jesus for me and for NCF!
Matt Miller - Matt is decisive, protecting, and servant minded! A few months back I brought Jada in to the office for a few hours and asked her to help our secretary fold bulletins. I was writing a sermon and came out about 45 minutes later to get a drink. Matt is sitting on the floor, folding bulletins having a discussion with Jada. That story typifies Matt. If there is a need, its going to be filled. If someone feels vulnerable, Matt steps in to ensure the safety and well-being of that individual. This has been a real challenge to me, for I love to be served. Thank you Matt for being decisive when others aren't, protecting the flock that God has called you to serve, and serving SO humbly, just like Jesus for me and for NCF!
Dale Stuber - Dale is easily one of the most compassionate and humble men I know. Week after week when we discuss issues in the church where sin has run its course and relationships are broken - Dale is moved to tears. He LOVES the body he shepherds. What a tremendous example for a guy like me who can be harsh at times. Dale will patiently work with people, even at great cost to himself, his sleep or his profit margin at work. This love is not just for the church. Catch Dale any day of the week and ask him about his wife, boys or daughter and you will see him warm up as he describes recent breakthroughs OR be brought to tears as he recounts his own failures. Constantly drawing from the deep and endless well of grace that God so richly provides is Dale! Thank you Dale for being compassionate and humble in your dealings with your family and the church you shepherd, just like Jesus for me and for NCF.
Bill Teater - Bill has a gift to reason the scriptures with anyone. I watch, time and again, how a situation that looks hopeless is brought back in the realm of redemption where it ought to have been the entire time. This would also indicate that Bill has great faith. His soothing and calm nature have quelled many a tense moment and show me what it means to be a humble leader. I will look at history, patterns, and many other things as I consider things. Bill begins with the heart and continues to trust the ability of God to redeem. I love how his words and demeanor challenge me indirectly to consider, "Do you actually believe the Bible you preach and the God you affirm?" Thank you Bill for being someone who reasons gently from the Scriptures and shows God's authority through them, just like Jesus for me and for NCF!
Dave Wolfe - Dave's fidelity to the Word of God and mission of God, along with his transparency have shown me what all pastors should be about! God's word (as well as His Son Jesus Christ) is His most complete revelation to us and Dave never ... and I mean NEVER... gives anything or anyone else a place on the stage of God's Glory. Most people may not know that every message that Dave or I preach is fully discussed together. I have grown in my preaching and teaching ministry more because of Dave than nearly any other man. On a regular basis Dave reminds me of who I am in Jesus and how every sin I commit either confirms or rejects the identity conferred to me by Christ! Thank you Dave for being SO COMMITTED to the Word of God and mission of God that one cannot help but be challenged to grow when with you, just like Jesus for me and for NCF!
|Don and Lori Blair|
|Steve and Diana Meyer family|
|Matt and Paula Miller family|
|Dale and Dana Stuber family|
|Bill and Debbie Teater family|
|Dave and Jessica Wolfe family|
Practically speaking, I encourage you to consider one of the following:
- PRAY for your pastors/elders regularly. Our humble recognition in prayer promotes a heart of gratitude and not consumerism.
- Encourage personally or through note (email or written) the pastor/elder who has exercised oversight in a Godly way over you.
- Obey their leadership for they must give an account before God for how they have shepherded the Church commended to their charge.
- Consider gift card for a 'date-nite' they can have with their spouse. Realizing that their spouses often feel the weight of "sharing" their husbands with the Church.
- Offer to watch their children as a favor giving them time to run errands or go out on a date.
- Offer to have them and their family over for dinner, dessert, games or just to hang out.