October is Pastor Appreciation Month when congregants take time to appreciate their pastors. But I’d like to flip the meaning of Pastor Appreciation Month a tad and tell you the attributes that I most appreciate in church folks.
I deeply appreciate the people of my church who…
1) Love my family. These congregants don’t have undo expectations of the pastor’s family. My kids are grown, but when they were young their “adopted” grandparents, aunts and uncles in the congregation loved them and in so doing taught them to love church folks and love the church. Moreover, they don’t insist that my wife play the piano, be a super-spiritual pray-er or act as if she has a Master of Divinity too
2) Love their fellow church members. Even if they didn’t vote the same way or have different musical tastes or dress out of style or cheer for the wrong teams, they still love them and wouldn’t dream of looking for greener pastures.
3) Serve without being asked. No pleading required. These church folks show up to work days, revival services, youth fundraisers and whatever else is happening.
4) Refuse to Gossip. Rumors and innuendo go in one ear and out the other and don’t pass over their tongue or through their lips.
5) Use social media to be the church’s biggest cheerleader and to spread kindness (and not to cherry pick theological or political posts to be used in a passive aggressive ambush of others).
6) Don’t whine when a hymn or chorus is played that they don’t like. Not every hymn is my favorite. Not every chorus gives me goose bumps, but that’s ok because worship isn’t directed toward you or me.
7). Pray regularly for their pastors (and not by praying: “O Lord, could you send my pastor to a little church in Timbuktu. Amen.”).
8). Welcome newcomers. These parishioners live by the motto: There are no strangers in God’s house.
9). Invite friends on a regular basis. They tell others about their church like they would tell them if their favorite pop star or athlete was going to be in attendance. “Yahoo! Guess what? Jesus is coming to my church on Sunday? You’ve got to come and meet Him!”
10). Give. No pastor likes talking about money. Don’t force him or her to become a beggar for Jesus. Just faithfully, regularly, generously give to the Lord.
Appreciate your pastor in a tangible way this month if you are so led, but even more importantly appreciate your pastor by being the best layperson all year long!