What Our Pastors Really Do

Written by Sherri Bergmann

October is Pastor’s Appreciation Month, a national celebration which was established in 1992 with the mission to uplift and encourage pastors and missionaries, as well as other religious workers.

At Foothills Church we’re celebrating this opportunity to uplift and encourage our pastors who dedicate their time to uplift and encourage us, but they do much, much more than that. Here is a deeper insight into what our pastors really do.

At Foothills Church, our pastor’s primary job is to connect us to Jesus, to grow to love and serve Him. They spend countless hours preparing for a sermon to help us to do just that.  And while preparing and delivering a sermon may be the most visible task our pastors perform, they spend their days doing much, much more.  As church leaders, they are responsible for planning ministry events, building and maintaining budgets, developing staff members in their roles and responsibilities and countless other “invisible” tasks.  Their days are full.  

More than connecting us to Christ
Not only do they connect us to Jesus, they connect themselves to us, and each other. They counsel us, they pray for us, they get us married, and are with our families from birth to burial.

They are with us during our darkest times, and celebrate with us during our brightest times. They are there for us, our spouse, our children and loved ones – those who are dear to us, are dear to them. They visit us in the hospital, in prison, in addiction centers – they trade the choice of living a life of comfort to spending time in our hell. Like a police officer, they can carry that hell inside for a long time. The difference is they take that hell to Christ in prayer and do what it takes to help set us free.

Bearing our burdens
One cannot put a price tag on the priceless services they provide to help us and our loved ones get through this life, and to prepare us for our next life with Christ. Day after day, they take home with them our burdens. And even those that they don’t serve – because of dealing with the influences of Satan in the world that affects their congregation, their sheep, that they shepherd and try to protect. It wasn’t an easy job for David to be a Shepherd against the lions, it wasn’t an easy job for Christ. But because Christ exists today, our Pastors have God’s support that gets them through to help us to get through.  

Being positive in spite of the negativity
In spite of our hardships they bear, Lowell Goetze, Foothills Church member, elder, small group and class leader, provides us with a stark, contrasting reality about our pastors (and pastors in general): Pastors are some of the most positive people on the planet. Their connection to the God of the universe is evident in their optimistic manner and positive outlook on life.

From his experience serving a long time in our church, he provides an illustration of a day in their life in dealing with trivial comments to heavy duty issues, “As being a pastor, imagine how you would feel or react to complaints about the color of the carpet, the loudness of the music, close friends whose marriage is headed for divorce, the untimely death of a teenage member, the staff member who is having an affair with the leading soprano, then you are scheduled to meet with another couple in trouble this afternoon. Additionally, every week you must set aside time alone with God to listen to Him, study the Scriptures and prepare the sermon for this weekend’s services.”

Then he asks us a big question, “Would you like to have his job?”

The Pastor’s Wife 
He also points out, “Don’t forget the pastor’s wife. She gets the criticisms that come from people who don’t have the courage to talk directly with the pastor. What would you do in her position? You can’t take most complaints to the pastor and discourage him more. You can’t talk with others about a private complaint … so you stuff it. Pastor’s wives can become the most discouraged people in the church.”

He has also seen that people can have unreasonable expectations about a pastor’s wife and that some believe that even after all that she does, she should be able to play the piano, and certainly be at their favorite mid-week activity.

What’s sincerely appreciated?
Many of us have experienced the positive, and even life-changing, difference a pastor has made in our life, and our family’s life and feel indebted. The internet provides countless suggestions to show appreciation from a dinner gift card to an all-expenses paid vacation. How do we know what could be considered too little, or too much?

Knowing what would be meaningful to a pastor, Goetze provides practical recommendations that come straight from the heart: Appreciate your pastor with a hand-written note of appreciation for who he is, not for what he does. Don’t call or email. Make it personal with a hand-written note. Pastors get compliments for what they do, mainly compliments on their sermon, but few get notes of appreciation for their character qualities like loving disposition, joyful outlook, courage to preach the truth of the Bible, patience with stubborn people, kindness toward hurting people, gentleness with selfish people, faithfulness to God and having self-control regarding petty complaints. Take your pastor and his wife out to a nice dinner. Let them use your timeshare. Pray for them every day.

Also, don’t forget the pastor’s wife. Goetze noted – as you would with your pastor, send her a hand-written note of appreciation complimenting her on her godly character.

Pastors, their wives, those who lead our church and those who are staff in our church – like us, appreciate knowing they, and what they do, are appreciated. Giving the gift of love is the best gift to give.  

Posted in
Tagged with

No Comments