With all due respect to Chuck Swindoll and Charles Stanley, whose works I highly recommend to you, there are three guys named Charles whose writings every Minister should know: Charles Spurgeon, Charles Jefferson, and Charles Bridges. Along with Pope Gregory’s Pastoral Rule and Richard Baxter’s Reformed Pastor, Charles Spurgeon’s Lectures to My Students, Charles Jefferson’s The Minister as Shepherd, and Charles Bridges The Christian Ministry constitute some of if not the most significant works in Pastoral Ministry outside of Scripture ever written. Of course, each of these men had other significant works that I highly recommend, but these stand out because of their content and impact. The standard they set for the role of the Pastor remains a relevant call to our churches today.
Among the many great lessons these giant works of our faith affirm is the value of the role of the Pastor. It is a lesson needed today as emphatically as ever.
I’ve read a lot of people who’ve said that the role of the minister isn’t respected today as much as it once was. I even read one author (Clement Rogers in his Pastoral Theology) who said that in 1912! Which makes one wonder when was the role of the Pastor respected? I suspect, the role of the minister has never been as respected as it should be. I’d like to see us change that.
October is Pastor Appreciation Month. I want to challenge every church and every church member to find appropriate ways to honor God by honoring the man He has provided to be your shepherd. I submit you to that your Pastor is worthy of appreciation. Here are just a few reasons why:
- Your Pastor is worthy of appreciation because of the enormity of the task to which God has called him. The Church is a complex organization with multifaceted needs. Today, a Pastor is expected to be good at so many things. Here are just a few:
Your Pastor is expected to:
Preach, teach, pray, equip, cast vision, counsel, lead the staff, lead his family, study, conduct weddings and funerals, dedicate babies, baptize, serve the Lord’s Supper, moderate business meetings, attend denominational functions, advise committees, manage the public relations of the church, lead the community in social reform, visit the sick and the bereaved and the lost and the prospects and the problematic, provide leadership, and give direction.
Not only that, your Pastor is expected to be knowledgeable (maybe even an expert) in:
Theology, hermeneutics, rhetoric, logic, music, architecture, administration, leadership, management, finance, education, conflict resolution, worship, counseling, medicine, legal matters, ethics, politics, secular culture, engineering, acoustics, aesthetics, gerontology, child-rearing, apologetics, evangelism, etiquette, prayer, Bible, current events, history, religions, and denominations.
- Your Pastor is worthy of appreciation because of the weight of the spiritual battle he fights on your behalf. Every day, a Pastor goes into battle against an enemy he cannot see, who’s not flesh and blood, and who desires to sift him like wheat. You need to pray for him even as he intercedes on your behalf.
- Your Pastor is worthy of appreciation because the magnitude of sin and the burden of lost souls. The challenge of his call and the need of the hour touches the nerve of a God-called man who knows he is faced with an impossible task in his own strength.
- Your Pastor is worthy of appreciation because of the enormous volume of bad theology he must oppose. You’ve heard them. The noise of their empty platitudes clutters our Facebook pages with the sappy and dangerous sentiment of their under-fed theology. The attractiveness of their anemic and me-focused messages fills auditoriums with people whose appetites have been whetted by false promises of a happy life, but only leaves them hungry and disillusioned!
Who will stand against the noise of this pandemic of powerless preaching with the unpopular truth if God’s Word? I’ll tell you who it is; he is your Pastor!
- Finally, I suggest to you that your Pastor is worthy of respect because your church called him. It is a commitment that you have made to him before God. You owe him that. It’s a calling that he takes seriously and you should to.
So, stand with him; stand by him; stand before him; stand under him. He’s your Pastor. And when he is attacked or under-appreciated, don’t stand for that!
Let’s make this October the beginning of something we’ve maybe never seen before. Show your Pastor the respect and appreciation he deserves. Maybe then, history will look back and remember a time when Pastor’s weren’t respected.