As I sit here, relaxing on my vacation at the beach, I am extremely grateful and thankful. I am thankful for being able to take a break from all the hectic of life and to just be able to relax. I am thankful for my family, friends, and loved ones. I am grateful for the life that God has given me. I am grateful for being apart of the crew here at the Reformed Alliance. And I am very thankful for the pastors and staff at my church, and at churches all around the world. I feel like that specific group of hard working shepherds of God aren’t thanked enough for all that they do. So, I just want to take a moment to do exactly that.

There are a couple verses in the Bible that accurately point at what I am trying to get at here. In 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 (ESV), it reads, “We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish youand to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.” This passage in the Bible is about the leaders in the church, the pastors and staff members who work hard to be instruments of God and to do His will. They truly do labor among us. They truly are over us with their leadership in the Lord. And they do admonish us in order to teach us how to truly live as Christians should live. And for that, we need to respect them and highly esteem them in love because of all that they do.

The past several months, I’ve studied what it means to be a minister of the church and all the duties and responsibilities that come with that. Being a part of the church staff is more than being a leader for a few hours on Sunday morning. For those that stand up to preach the Word of God, it usually requires hours of studying and preparation. From a couple of pastors that I’ve interviewed, it usually take at least 10 hours per week, if not more, to prepare for a sermon.

Being a pastor also means being in constant relationship with others, either mentoring people, visiting the sick in their homes or in hospitals, or counseling those in crisis. Being a leader in the church is being a part of a “people business,” as one of my pastor has once said before. However, their non-typical work week is filled with all of those things, as well as meetings and more. It is incredible just how much work they put in.

However, 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 doesn’t just talk about the pastors who preach. It also includes those who lead the church in ways we don’t see, or in ways other than preaching such as worship pastors/leaders, ministry assistants, administrative assistants, and many more other positions. You might not see it, but all these people work together so that the local church can properly function.

But in order to properly preach the Word of God, you must know what you’re doing. There is a saying at my church that I’ve heard over the years: “God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called.”  The point I’m trying to get at is that God will equip you if you are truly called into this profession. Some churches don’t require a theological/ministry education, but they do highly recommend it. There are schools out there that train people to answer God’s calling into the field of ministry, and those schools do cost money.

On top of those seminaries and schools, unless you’re Steven Furtick , Benny Hinn, or Joel Osteen (note from James: and trust me… you don’t wanna be like them; just… just trust me), a lot of church staff members are not going to be extremely wealthy. In fact, while some are overpaid, most are underpaid. If you google the pay that most church staff receives, you’ll most likely get different numbers at each site. However, I know for most church staff the reward of ministering to His sheep are far greater in Heaven than the riches found on this earth.

Now, when I first thought of writing on this topic… I was curious. So I asked James if there was a day dedicated to appreciating pastors and church staff. Turns out there is! It came as a surprise to me; I’ve never heard of this day before and James only found out about it a year ago. So this year, on Sunday, October 8th is Clergy Appreciation Day in the United States. So, I proposed the thought of writing this week’s blog post on pastor and staff appreciation.

Not many people know about October 8th. Hopefully this post will change that and spread the news. But more importantly, we shouldn’t only give appreciation to our pastors and staff on a single day of the year. The Bible tells us to do this all the time. So, this is meant to be both a reminder for all of us to show respect and love to the leaders of our churches, as well as a reminder for October 8th. I challenge all those regular church attendees to go and mark your calendars, but more importantly… let your church’s staff know how much you appreciate them.

I know that those who truly believe and respect God’s calling to ministry don’t do it with selfish intentions, but rather with selfless intentions. While most people in this profession don’t ask for this kind of attention, we are called to do it regardless. So to all the pastors and leaders of the local churches around the world, once again… we respect you… we love you… and we thank you for all your difficult and hard work. While we might not voice it all the time, I and countless others are truly thankful.

May we all remember to love and respect our church’s pastors and staff. May we all show our appreciation to them more often than we do. May we all mark our calendar for October 8th. And may those that are called into ministry continue to do the good work that God calls them to do.

Solus Christus.