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Pastor appreciation month

October is known as “Pastor Appreciation Month.” Being a leader in a church family is hard work! While folks often joke how a preacher only works two hours a week, they are not around when the minister is called at 2 a.m. for an emergency within the church family.

People don’t see the minister praying hard for the struggles within their care — struggles of disrespectful children, couples arguing and contemplating divorce, health concerns, emotional struggles, etc. What is never seen or known is how a good minister is struggling alongside his church family, yet they get to bare the burdens of everyone in the congregation while never being able to vent to anyone about it.

The minister has his church family plus those in the community who call them, “their preacher,” to care for all of whom have a jewel to unload and complain too, vent with, shout at, and yet who does the preacher have?

Eighty-four percent of pastors feel they are on call 24/7. Sixty-five percent of pastors feel their family lives in a glass house and fear they aren’t good enough to meet the expectations of those around them. Eighty percent of pastors feel ministry has negatively affected their families. Many pastoral children no longer attend church once grown from seeing how people treated their parent in ministry.

Seventy percent of ministers say they have lower self esteem. Only one out of 10 who start in ministry retire in ministry. Seventy percent of ministers say they don’t have any close friends.

Fifty percent of those who enter ministry quit within the first five years. Fifty percent of ministers say their biggest challenge is finding volunteers to help them in ministry items. If the Church is growing it is because everyone is inviting and helping. If the church is not growing, it is assumed it is because of the minister even when no one else helps out or does outreach.

Seventy-one precent of churches have no plan to allow their minister to receive a periodical sabbatical. Thirty percent of churches have never written out what they expect of their minister – they just aren’t happy when the minister isn’t doing what they wish.

There has been a steady increase in suicide, alcohol abuse, addictions to drugs/ pornography/etc. in ministers for the past several years. What are you doing to fulfill Hebrews 13:17 where challenged to “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you”? It’s easy to talk about the minister. What are you doing to help them, grow them, support them? Let’s show a little appreciation. Heck, it’s even tax exempt.

Rev. J. Cameron Bailey is pastor at Kenbridge Christian Church. He can be reached at jamescameronbailey@gmail.com.