Despite the tremendous challenges of this year, the local church has remained strong. It’s partly why this Pastor Appreciation Month deserves special celebration. I want to intentionally take time to celebrate and extol the kind and humble leadership demonstrated by my pastor and church leadership.
I have been a member of my church for just shy of a year now—joining just weeks before we could no longer safely meet in person. My church leadership elected to shift all of our services to an online platform; my pastor noting that we would be “married to the message not the methods” of the gospel.
By the Lord’s providence, our church was in the midst of a study on the story of Joseph’s life told in the book of Genesis. Joseph was a man who knew a thing or two about trials and tribulations. God’s faithfulness and Joseph’s obedience have been a great comfort to our church throughout the pandemic.
For months we continued like this, attending Sunday service, Bible study, and community group online. And once every few months, each of our members was contacted by a church elder. These are just check-ins: “How are you doing?” “Is there anything the church can do for you?” “How can we pray for you?” This was very special to me, particularly when I was quarantining away from my church family. These messages reminded me that I was not alone nor forgotten.
I would humbly encourage every Christian to show their pastoral leadership gratitude for how they have lead this year, regardless of the choices they made.
There have also been numerous ways our church has served the community during this time including becoming a food distribution center and delivering care packages to our members. But the most personal way my church has served me through this time is simply by being a consistent, faithful presence.
Pursuant to our city’s public safety guidelines, my church is now able to gather in person again. My pastor has made clear that we will continue to gather in person as long as it is safe to do so, though it is not guaranteed that our city will not impose more restrictions. For now, every instance we are able to gather physically is one of great joy and thankfulness at God’s favor.
I have been so appreciative of the ways in which our leadership has navigated this very difficult year. Though they were grappling with the news of the day at the same time as all of us, they humbly displayed servant leadership and a sober-minded approach to every decision they made. In a time where every decision seems to be viewed through the lens of partisanship, I can’t imagine how difficult some of these choices must have been.
I would humbly encourage every Christian to show their pastoral leadership gratitude for how they have led this year, regardless of the choices they made. These have been unbelievably difficult circumstances, yet our pastors have marched on, shepherding and discipling us along the way. As Paul writes to the church in Thessalonica: “We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work” (1 Thess. 5:12-15). Pray for your pastor and encourage him. Share the ways he has served you, your family, and your community this year.