October is Ministry Appreciation Month and as a pastor's wife, I would be extremely remiss if I didn't let you in on life on the other side and the myriad of reasons you should show your pastor, his family (and any other ministry staff in your church) some love.
I want to preface all of this by saying that I have been on the other side of the pulpit, so to speak, sitting in the same pews that you occupy, totally oblivious as to what my pastor REALLY did for the kingdom and his congregation….so, this is all said in love….let's put on our steel toed boots and get through it together…
5 Things Your Pastor Wishes You Knew
1. He works more than 3 hours per week
Yes, I know that most of us only see our pastor on Sundays and Wednesdays, but truth be told, he works every day. He doesn't punch a clock and work normal hours like you or I do, but he spends countless hours visiting shut ins and the ill, tending to grieving families, counselling soon-to-be-wed couples, helping families in the throes of crisis, visiting prospects, attending community meetings, answering countless phone calls and that doesn't even begin to touch the anywhere from 5-20 hours that he spends on his sermon and the studying it requires. One of my favorites from when my husband was in Youth Ministry was when we would return from a week long youth mission trip only to have a church member ask how our vacation was. What? Are you kidding me? Seriously? The next time you find yourself about to complain about the number of hours that you are working, remember he is doing it, too – even if you don't see it all.
2. He is not Superman
He is human, just like you. So often my husband and I hear, “I have never met a pastor (or pastor's wife) like you.” and I think what they are really saying is “Wow, you are real people.” Yep, sure enough, we are. We hang out at home in grungy clothes, some Saturdays we forget to brush our teeth if we don't go anywhere, we laugh and cut up, shoot, every once in a while he even swats me on the behind and sometimes in public (GASP!). One of the greatest gifts that you can give your pastor is the freedom to be himself. He'll be much better equipped to love you and be loved, when you remove the element of expected perfection.
3. He is not an army of one
His calling was never intended to be carried out alone and this is perhaps the area where most church members fail, myself included. So many times we see something that we could be doing better or differently in the church and rather than working to get it done, we make our little to-do list and pass it right off to the pastor ('cause you know he only works 3 hours a week….). Here is a thought, the next time you see something that needs to be done, do it, then tell your pastor about it! Mike gets so excited when this happens, when someone takes ownership and initiative and owns their part. It shows growth and in those moments, he feels like you are a team working towards the same goals of saving souls and changing lives. Now, don't go painting the sanctuary magenta and blame it on me when your deacons ask about it, but you get my drift.
4. What is yours is his
When you rejoice because your child gets saved at VBS, so does he. When you cry because your teenager is going down the wrong path and won't turn around, so does he. When you experience pain at the ending of your marriage, so does he. When you agonize over end of life issues with your parents, so does he. He smiles with you in times of success and prosperity and weeps with you in times of failure and despair. Many a night, he ends a phone call with you during a time of need, unable to sleep, just as you are, because he feels your burdens. And he does it gladly, it is a part of the call. But you must also remember this, if he isn't doing any of those things with you, it is most likely because you haven't let him in on what is going on. He can't be your pastor, if you won't let him.
5. He is responsible to a much HIGHER authority than his church members
I can't stress this one enough. Does your pastor love his church members? Yes. Does he want the church to equip itself to better reach the lost? Of course. Does he want to see the kingdom grow? Absolutely! Is he going to do things the way that YOU think he should? Nope. He is going to do them the way that God tells him to. Ouch, I know, but that is the way it has to be. Tread carefully when you gripe at how your pastor is doing things, because if he is doing them with the proper guidance, your gripe is really with God. Just saying…
Now, go do something nice for your pastor (ooohhh, and his wife!)