October is Clergy Appreciation Month, a time when Christians are encouraged to express gratitude to their pastors, ministers and leaders.

Serving as a pastor is no easy task. In fact, I can’t think of many more challenging callings in life.


A lot of people think pastors work just one day a week. The reality is quite the opposite. Most pastors are fortunate to get one day off per week. Most are on-call 24/7. When it comes to an erratic schedule, a pastor is like a firefighter or a police officer, except he has to stop at red lights, often in a very used car or truck that’s seen better days.

Pastors serve as the “CEO” of an organization, they cast vision, manage a staff, counsel church members in need and motivate unpaid volunteers.

In one day a pastor may visit a new mother and her child in the hospital – and then take an elevator down one floor and sit with a dying saint. They become intimately acquainted with joy and grief and laughter and tears.

Pastors need to be humble, but they also need to be confident. They need to be both meek and bold.

Everybody wants their pastor to preach a good sermon. But good sermons usually take time to prepare – and a lot of pastors are a one man band and don’t have the luxury of sitting quietly at a desk for several hours at a time.

Yes, people want a good sermon, but some like them short and others like them long. And if the pastor goes over, the workers in the nursery get angry – and the people in the pews get irritated if it might makes them late for Sunday brunch or kickoff of the football game.

Indeed, being a pastor is tough work! Which is why, I think, you can understand how so many pastors face severe burnout and stress.

So the next time you cross paths with a member of the clergy, I hope you might view them a little differently. Show them some love and appreciation. Seemingly small gestures go a long way towards encouraging pastors and their families in their service.

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