Every fall the Pastoral Ministries Division at Focus on the Family promotes the significance of Clergy Appreciation Month — the special time of year when congregations honor you and your family for your hard work, sacrificial dedication and the multiple blessings you provide.
We are aware of your challenges in ministry. Those of us who serve in the Pastoral Ministries Division have been where you are, and we carry scars from our experiences. Yet, as the apostle James encourages, we consider it pure joy (James 1:2). Why? James continues in verse three: "Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." Our wish is that you will find fulfillment in your calling. For you, fulfillment may be defined as progress in your ministry. That is where perseverance comes in. "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up" (Galatians 6:9).
During this time, you may need encouragement. We all need someone to say, "We believe in you," "Thank you," and "We are praying for you." Here is what we pray for you:
And I pray that when it is time for you to finish your race as Paul did (2 Timothy 4:7), your journey will find completion through a life lived in righteousness.
You, my colleague, are a hero to me. During this Clergy Appreciation Month, the Pastoral Ministries Division of Focus on the Family salutes and thanks you for your unselfish dedication to the One who has called you.
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.