Acts 2:42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. (NASB)
I love my church! I love the Church, but I am especially grateful for my local church where I get to learn from an amazing biblically-based Pastor with a heart to preach and practice, “Love one another,” and who speaks truth into our lives as he leads and loves our church and community. Our church is a place of worship, praying, studying God’s Word, taking communion, fellowship, giving, serving and of course singing. A place where we are reminded that every activity in life Sunday through Saturday is a form of worship for God and His glory!
The church, referring to the building or meeting place, is where we go to join with others to experience the presence of God and bless Him with our adoration, attention, and affection. As a follower of Jesus, we are students learning about God from His Word and responding with faith-filled lives increasingly comprehending who God is, what He thinks and commands, and the gospel message of how He loves us. The central message taught and taken out into the streets and schedules of the Church is God’s love-filled message, that He wants a personal relationship with every person He created. He demonstrated this to us by sending His one and only Son to personally suffer the punishment we all deserved for our sin. He then gave us the opportunity to choose to follow Him, live for Him and live with Him eternally. Church is about relationships; first with Jesus and then with one another. Churches are filled with imperfect people being perfected by a Perfect God. My Pastor reminds us that we are a hospital for people who need help, hope or are hurt, not a museum of perfect people. I like to think of us as a schoolhouse where people come to learn and grow in the character and calling Jesus authored for our lives. Like school students, we learn a little more every day, but are not ready to graduate after the first day. God is so wonderful and powerful, and His Word so deep that we will still be learning about Him even as we take our last breath on earth and graduate into His presence in heaven.
October is Pastor Appreciation Month, and whether we have one Pastor or a team of Pastors, we must always remember that shepherding requires a whole lot more than just writing and delivering a sermon on Sunday. Considerable work, wisdom and sacrifice goes into loving and teaching children, youth, and adults in various opportunities and ministries - not just on Sunday, but through every season and situation, every day. As church members, we expect a lot from our Pastors, and often spend more time evaluating their preaching, then we do receiving and responding to it with open hearts. They are there to point us to an eternal God Who is the authority and author of the universe and our days. We are there as co-heirs in Christ, we are the family, and the laborers together in the mission field of our community and beyond. Pastors should not be idolized nor abused; they are not our servants nor our Savior. Pastors have been called to pray, share the Word of God, and love people - which is also the calling of every believer. Our Pastors are called in Ephesians 4 to equip us, the saints of God, for the work of ministry. Within the context of the local church, they are also often called upon to oversee the business side of running a strategic and stewarding church that is spiritually and fiscally healthy. They need our prayers, our love, and appreciation not just in October but the whole year through.
Pray and ask God how you can speak and show appreciation for the Pastors in your life this month and throughout the year. Look for a need you could meet in their life or family, surprise them with a gift, a meal, or card. Pray for them daily and remember that every teacher's desire is to see their students live out what they have learned. Perhaps the greatest gift you can give your Pastor is to live a faith-filled, gospel-sharing, obedient life that gives God glory and increases the Church. Pray for the Church, your church, your Pastor, and every Pastor throughout October and beyond.
Let’s pray together now: Lord, thank you for those You have called to be Pastors. Thank you for all the ways that they study and share Your Word. Thank You for their love for You and for the congregation and community You have called them to shepherd. Fill them with Your presence and preaching; hear their prayers and provide all that is needed to grow Your Kingdom and give you glory. Be their strength and joy, be their Shepherd and speak powerfully to them and through them. Amen
Serving Him with Gladness,
National Day of Prayer Task Force