Summary: This is a sermon delivered on the occasion of "Pastor Appreciation Sunday."
Three Cheers for the Shepherd!
12 Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you.
13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.
INTRO: What is the Biblical concept relating to the Pastor? Because of the times in which we live in, we need to see the ministry of the Pastor from the Bible’s perspective. Many of God’s people have a wrong concept toward the Pastor, giving him a title as an “Employee of the Church.” NO, he isn’t an employee. Others give him the title of a “Team Manager” because we should work as a team. NO, he isn’t a “Team Manager.” Others want to call him a “CEO.” Others-- well, we won’t even mention how they refer to him.
If he is not all of the above, who is the Pastor? Well, he wears lots of hats—father, husband, electrician, projectionist, snow-remover, custodian, administrator, chaplain, plumber.
But really, the Bible’s understanding of the role of the pastor comes down to one concept: SHEPHERD! As such, he is a God-called, anointed person who is charged with feeding, protecting, leading, and admonishing the sheep under his care.
Sometimes pastors are the loneliest people in the church. Often their hours are long, the pay minimal, and the criticism considerable. Feelings of disappointment, discouragement, and defeat may begin to plague the best of them.
I know that you appreciate your pastor and that’s why you are having this special recognition. You may ask yourself, “What can I do for my pastor?” Well, here are some things every church and every believer can and should do for him.
1. Know Him. Acknowledge the fact that he is unique. His style, personality, gifts, character traits, etc. are unique to him. Let him be who he is. Throw away the measuring stick. The best way to know a person is to sit across the table from him.
2. Esteem Him Very Highly. That’s what Paul tells us to do in I Thess.5:13. Always speak honorably and respectfully of him. He deserves your highest and best opinion. He is the messenger of God to your soul. He is your shepherd and teacher.
3. Remember Him. Remember him at the throne of grace. It has been said that after a pastor has been at a church for some time, the church takes on a bit of his style and personality. That may be true, but I believe that a church can, through its praying, make a lasting imprint on his soul. Pray for him that he will be anointed in his preaching—that he will be humble, patient, full of faith, joy, and peace. Pray that God will constantly renew his passion for Christ, his church, and the unsaved.
4. Follow Him. Follow his devotion, doctrine, and dependability as he shows you the way of faith by word and example. A leader is not a leader if no one is following him.
5. Use Your Skills to Bless Him. He can’t do the work all by himself. He needs your help. There are some things that you can do well that either he can’t, or doesn’t have the time for. Illus.: The Johnson’s Resume
6. Squelch Gossip. If you hear a negative comment, respond with a positive one. If misinformation is being spread, correct it with the accurate information. Sometimes, silence or just walking away will speak volumes.
7. Praise Him. Express appreciation from time to time in writing. He can have a “praise box.” He can dip into it on a gloomy day.
Parishioners hard pressed for something to say to the clergy after the service, have, according to one minister’s friend said to him, “You always manage to find something to say to fill up the time.” “I don’t care what they say, I like your sermons.” “If I’d known you were going to be good today, I’d have brought a neighbor.” “Did you know there are 243 panes of glass in the windows?” Really, the preacher is no different than you. The more you praise him, the harder he’ll work!
8. Remember His First Priority: Family! Like any other Christian man, he is first provider, protector, and priest to his wife and kids. Don’t let the church seduce him to the point that it leaves a bad taste in their mouths and creates friction at home.
I like what Ron Carlson had to say about the pastor: “I am the pastor. Like you, another experiment in grace, a fellow-witness to the truth, a flesh and blood testimony to the goodness of God.
I have soup stains on my tie, razor nicks on my chin, mud on my boots, a song on my lips, and the joy of Jesus in my heart. I am part mechanic, part soldier, part mother hen, and part badger.