DOUBLE HONOR (Article) by Abidan Paul Shah
(Published in the newspaper Daily Dispatch, Henderson on October 6, 2018)
“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)
“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 work’s sake.” (1Thessalonians 5:12-13)
Each year, the month of October has been designated as the Pastor Appreciation Month. I know that may come as a surprise to some of you who thought that October was only about Halloween. Slide over Jason, Freddy, and Chucky! It’s time to make room for us good guys!
But seriously, pastors are among the most unappreciated individuals. Contrary to what people think, it’s not an easy job. Lifeway Research from 2015 listed the following statistics regarding pastors:
- 84% say they’re on call 24 hours a day.
- 80% expect conflict in their church.
- 54% find the role of pastor frequently overwhelming.
- 53% are often concerned about their family’s financial security.
- 48% often feel the demands of ministry are more than they can handle.
- 21% say their church has unrealistic expectations of them.
Both my wife and I grew up in a pastor’s home and we saw some of these challenges firsthand. We made up our minds that pastoral ministry was not for us. When God called me, we both struggled for a while. Although we love what we do today, it’s still quite challenging. We are very grateful for our church family that appreciates us and finds ways to encourage and support us and our children. It makes ministry a fun journey rather than a grudging duty.
Question: What is your church planning to do for your pastor and his family? Here’s a suggestion: Please don’t just give him a cheap picture frame with a Bible verse or some praying hands statue. Also, no more sending empty cards or gifting some used appliance that you don’t need (someone did that to us years ago). Give them some gift cards, so they can go out for a nice date. Maybe even send them for an overnight getaway all-expense paid. A healthy marriage will be far more beneficial to the church. And, don’t forget the kids! Do something nice for them as well. Any wonder why pastor’s kids go off the deep end? It’s probably due to the lack of encouragement from the church growing up.
Please don’t misunderstand. The office of a pastor is not a higher calling. It’s not superior to being a teacher, doctor, salesman, business owner, law enforcement, landscaper, truckdriver, waiter, secretary, homemaker, etc. I believe that every profession is a calling from God and equally important in the sight of God. Nonetheless, the pastor’s work helps every individual to be spiritually healthy in order to fulfill their various responsibilities. Doesn’t it deserve to be appreciated and encouraged?