Monday, October 12, 2009

"Just Say It" Series:
Honoring your pastor


Yesterday morning in service, one of our board members, Bill Letaw came to the pulpit and gave a beautiful speech that could have been straight out of a Hallmark card.  The church was continuing with this month's Pastor Appreciation and Bill had some wonderful words to say about my husband and I.  Then at the conclusion of the remarks, he presented me with bouquet of roses (pictured here) and when I came to receive them, the congregation gave me a standing ovation for a few moments.  It meaning was so deep to me as Bill was filled with emotion giving the speech, his passion and gratitude coming through in a profound way to all who were present.

Churches all over the land are celebrating "Pastor Appreciation Month" in October. While this is a time to focus on specifically appreciating your pastor, churches should be living in such a way as to honor all year long. It doesn't just come naturally and as uncomfortable as it is for a pastor to get up and teach or preach about this, they must, because it's the full counsel of God's Word. Many pastors say, "I can't talk about that to my church  and actually TEACH them about how they should be treating me-- it's so self serving."  Please understand, I am not talking about getting up and telling your church you want them to buy you a Lexus or  a Rolex.  No, not at all.  It's not even about money or a gift.  It's about the gift of honor.

Dr. Phil says, "you teach people how to treat you."  That's definitely something I strongly believe. 
As awkward as it might be at times, it's true for pastors too.   A church doesn't just learn honor by osmosis.  You have to teach and train people how to live lifestyles of honor.  While it is just that -- a lifestyle, and the pastor is not someone to be honored exclusively, neither are they exempt.  And if you do not teach your people to honor, they won't just become lax and forget, they will slide into dishonor, I guarantee it.  So we can't shy away from teaching about something just because it's not easy. A lot of things are not easy in life.  Things like flossing our teeth or parent teacher conferences or mammograms are not easy either, but we do them, or at least we SHOULD.  Just because something isn't comfortable doesn't mean we leave it to chance or don't do it.  Just so, you have to speak to your people even when it's out of your comfort zone at times.

  For those of you who are members of a church, let me encourage you to make it easy for your pastor to teach on this subject.  Know that no matter how confident they seem, it is not easy to get up and teach about something that has to do with them.  Many pastors just bring in a guest speaker to do it.  I know of a few pastors who have a tradition of bringing other pastors in every October as guests to speak on the subject for them.  While that is better than nothing, I do believe it's important that they hear it more often.  How did some churches get to be such preacher eaters that just absolutely devour men and women of God?  Part of it is a lack of teaching over the years about what the Bible says about how to treat them.  Again, the Bible says the pastor is a gift.  When you receive a gift, you should take care of it, not neglect it or trash it or dishonor it. 

 Thank you, Bill, for the roses.  Thank you, Northsiders, for your loving care yesterday and always.  It means so much and is never lost on me...I love you. 


4 comments:

Ruth, PA said...

A huge FB thumbs up!

Ruth, PA said...

Yesterday, our church sent our pastor and his wife to Cape May for the week! We love them so much!!!

Amy said...

I didn't realize October was pastor's appreciation month...and my husband is a pastor!

I am thoroughly enjoying your "Just Say It" series. Thank you for putting these thoughts to words.

Deanna said...

Amy, I'm sorry that you didn't know that. I am going to pray for you that your church will find out and do something.

With love,
D