When you pray, you pray about you, your family, your concerns, and those in your church and life for which you are concerned. At the end of the day, you are spiritually responsible for a limited group. When your pastor prays, he has all the same concerns as you in terms of normal life. However, he is responsible for all the other members in the congregation as well. He prays about your concerns too because as his sheep, your concerns are his as well. If you are burdened, then by extension, he is burdened too.
Have you noticed the number of pastors this year who have reportedly committed suicide and have had to leave the ministry because of personal sin and struggles? Just one would be heartbreaking, but the reality is, there are pastors serving congregations all over the world who quietly struggle great battles of the soul. Pastoral life and ministry bring many challenges. Most pastors choose not to share what their real burdens are or determine they do not have anyone particular to talk with or to regarding their own struggles. Therefore, day after day they linger under the stressful conditions of pastoral ministry.
However, the month of October is Pastor Appreciation Month. As such, you can provide a great blessing to your pastor or possibly some pastors that you know. In what sometimes is a seemingly thankless job, this month provides you the opportunity to do something to help lift at least part of the burden from your pastor. For many years my own church so graciously celebrates this month, for which the pastors and I so appreciate. We are served well. I’m writing today for you – not my own church members – so that you might provide encouragement to the one who serves you in pastoral ministry.
Most individuals never consider the burden on the shoulders of the pastor. The pastor’s role includes more than most. In a sense the pastor functions as an employee, employer, small business owner, manager, artist, creator, and student, in addition to his responsibilities at home. Every week the pastor faces multiple opportunities to speak publicly, serve individually, and provide care. As a shepherd who guides, protects, and feeds his sheep, the pastor sacrificially does the same for the congregation. As a shepherd the sheep depend upon his wisdom, diligence, and proximity for their well-being.