The month of October is always one that I look forward to. I love the beginning of the fall season, cooler temperatures and pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks are blessings to me. I love the colors of autumn as the trees let go of the summer heat and harshness. I also love playoff baseball, though I do miss the seasons that the Royals were still playing. I love the height of football season.
I also love this season in the life of the church. There are harvest dinners, pet blessings, hayrides and so much more in the life of the church that I appreciate about this month we have entered once again.
October is significant for me personally as well. I married my husband in October and the month holds my birthday as well. I will be 35 years old in just a few weeks and have served God in local church ministry since I was around 20 years old, starting my first full-time appointment after seminary when I was 24 years old. I still have much to learn about ministry, but I have certainly had enough experience to know that sometimes your pastor needs some extra support and love.
It was about 10 days into the month of October last year before I realized what was going on in my life as Pastor at La Monte United Methodist Church. I am not one to always connect the dots so quickly and it took me a minute to put two and two together. Each day I came into the office or each time I checked our mailbox, I would find a note of appreciation for my ministry and a gift as well. The gifts ranged in type from gift cards to a dozen cookies to handmade lap quilts and even some homemade ice cream. It eventually dawned on me that October is Pastor Appreciation Month and that La Monte United Methodist Church took their call to appreciate their pastor quite seriously.
Eldorado United Methodist Church is part of my pastoral appointment as well and they celebrated by taking a spontaneous love offering for an organization that has sustained my ministry for many years. In honor of my birthday and ministry, almost $350 was given to Young Clergywomen International.
To say that I was humbled last year does not even begin to cover it. I am so thankful that God saw it fit to appoint me to these two churches in Pettis County at this moment in time. I needed them to love me as their Pastor and they have done it very well. I needed them to love my family, and they have done that very well too.
We pastor types have been showing some disturbing trends lately. Some higher profile pastors have even completed suicide due to their depression and anxiety. Pastors often share that they are overwhelmed and feel little support from their congregation members. It is no secret that a Pastor’s job is a difficult one at this time in our world and history. Things have certainly changed in society and the church and that has brought added stress to our ministry at times.
I want to encourage you to show love and appreciation to your pastors during this month of October. Please show their families that love and support as well.
It is imperative for the future of the church that Pastors are treated well, with respect and care. Please do not misunderstand me and think that I am suggesting pastors are above growth and constructive criticism. But I will quote scripture to help guide you in your interactions with your pastors. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says the following: “If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone.”
So, if you have a problem with your Pastor, an amazing way to show appreciation would be to go and chat with them. But even if you do not, please remember that we pastors are humans too and need to know that we are doing the best we possibly can; encouragement and appreciation will go a long way.
If you need some ideas about how to show your Pastor you love them, reach out to me. I have two congregations that do a really great job of loving their Pastor well and I am so thankful!