As you know, October is Clergy Appreciation Month. Our hope is that congregations across America will honor and recognize the call of God on your lives and the significance of your contribution to them. Our challenge to laypeople this year is a simple one: "Stop, take a moment, and pray for your pastors and their families."
In our planning guide we ask, "What can you do to honor and affirm your pastoral staff and their families this year?" And we answer, "Stand beside each of them in regular prayer. Pray for your pastor. Pray for his or her family members. Pray for them all year long."
Remember the time in Peter's life when he was troubled and tempted by Satan? Jesus said to him, "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail" (Luke 22:31-32). That is why we pray for you — so that your faith will remain strong.
Some time ago I wrote my prayer for you in a Pastor's Weekly Briefing column. When I pray I ask:
• That demands on your time will not threaten your intimacy with God.
• That you will give adequate attention to your family.
• That you will find a colleague to join you in prayer for your community and in accountability.
• That your preaching and teaching will not be tepid, but courageous and purposeful.
• That the people you lead will respond to your passion and follow you with enthusiasm.
• That America will wake up and realize that the message you speak cannot be ignored.
• That you will finish strong, with no regrets.
Pastor, colleague, we appreciate you, and you are in our prayers. We celebrate the call God placed on your lives.
It is our sincere desire that this October every congregation in America will make a statement of their support and affirm your service to them. If they do not, please do not become discouraged. Remember you are loved and appreciated by us at Focus on the Family and by the One who matters most.
If we can serve you in any way, please feel free to contact us at our toll-free Pastoral Care Line (877) 233-4455.
Ever feel like you need to wear a mask to cover up who you are? Are you concerned that, if people knew who you really are and how you really felt, they wouldn't understand?
One minister, two jobs and the family that's at the top of the list. The number of bivocational ministers, those in full- or part-time ministry who carry an additional job, is estimated by some researchers to be as high as 30 percent of ministers nationwide.
"You should see the church they attend," Lucille said, armed with bulletin and newsletter. Creases formed across my brow as celebration gave way to comparisons a trap that had sprung too many times.