Monday, October 17, 2011

Show your Pastor Appreciation

Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. 1 Timothy 5: 17

Elders mean overseers or leaders. The term Double honor comes from the Greek word time’ or teemay. It means, the value of something. So the literal Greek says that leaders and ministers are worthy of double value. We should not only value them, but double that value. Think of them twice as much as you usually do. The question is “How do we do that?” Let’s talk about the man who wrote those words, Paul. Listen to these passages that he writes to two different churches:
“I want you to know how much I have agonized for you and for the church at Laodicea, and for many other believers who have never met me personally. 2 I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. 3 In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2: 1-3.
That word agonized really stands out doesn’t it? The word is the Greek word Agon, which signified the feelings of a marathon runner in a contest. That was the way Paul felt toward the churches. He was in an inner conflict, a real struggle, as if he was at mile 22 of a marathon.
Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of my concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak without my feeling that weakness? Who is led astray, and I do not burn with anger? 2 Cor. 11: 28-29

That word burden can also mean anxiety, uneasiness, constant care. Notice the emotions that it brought to Paul’s life. Weakness, anger, frustrations, or as the NET Bible puts it, 'the daily pressure on me of my anxious concern for all the churches.'" Paul is saying that his physical hardships are no more difficult than his constant concern for the people in the churches he started.

80% of ministers believe that pastoral ministry affects their families negatively.
50% feel unable to meet the needs of the job.
40% of pastors revealed that they have thought about getting out of the ministry.

What are some things that you can do to encourage your ministers?
1. Pray for them. It is the prayers of your people that get you through the week. We need more prayer on Monday mornings than any other time. Monday’s are the hardest day of the week for most ministers. We are mentally tired from Sunday and we feel the most drained. Tell them you are praying for them. Ask them how you can pray for them.
2. Love their family. Nothing is better to me than when a church member does something nice for Lorrie or the kids. Offer to babysit for a staff member so that they can take their spouse out for a date. 80% of pastors say they have insufficient time with their spouse. The divorce rate for ministers is equal to the divorce rate of the average congregation. Take the minister’s wife on a shopping trip and buy her something nice. Give encouraging notes to their children or spouse. Celebrate family events with them by sending cards, letters or gifts. Don’t forget birthdays, anniversaries.
3. Take something off their agenda. Statistics tell us that churchgoers expect their pastor to juggle an average of 16 major tasks at a time. Our schedules are often filled with emergencies, life crises, and unrealistic time demands. Find something that you can do to “lighten the load.”
4. Be a friend. There are times when your ministers just would like to hang out with you. No string attached. Don’t discuss church, don’t talk to them about crises in your life, don’t ask them about the church budget. Just take them out to eat, to a ballgame, on a hunt, etc..
5. Have an appreciation for their time. I normally study for sermons on Tuesdays. So likely that is not the best time to come by and see me. You need to find out when your pastor does sermon prep and value that time. Don’t call after 9PM unless an emergency. Be sensitive to the fact that he is probably at home trying to do homework with kids, giving baths, helping with supper and trying to be a dad.
6. Just be an encourager. Over 50% of ministers say that they have experienced burn out or depression to the extent that they needed to take a leave of absence from ministry. 70% say that they have a lower self esteem now than when they started out. Commit yourself to be a constant encourager to your ministers.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

One Year later

July 20, 2010

July 14, 2011

It is hard for us to believe that it has been one year since we became parents of this amazing little boy. As I look back on our experience one year later I am amazed at the hand of God on the whole situation. Our Brodie now speaks fluent English, plays baseball, basketball and anything else he can get his hands on. This time last year he stood before us with fear and uncertainty as he faced a future in a whole new world. Now, he has flown through Kindergarden, passed every physical, mental and emotional test we can throw at him, and has finished his round of surgeries. He loves his new family, his new room, his church, his school, his cousins and sisters. He is learning more and more about Jesus every day. He says the prayers at night thanking God for his family and praying for those boys and girls in China who are still waiting for their forever family. He loves the Braves, the Crimson Tide, and loves watching basketball. One year later we want to, once again, thank all the people who made this possible. We could not have made it without our parents. They have accepted Brodie as their grandchild just as if he were born to us. Our girls have been amazing. They have taught him about life and loved him even though he is a typical little brother. Our Church family has embraced Brodie as their own. He is just one of the crowd around Valley Creek. Special people like Bob and Nancy Brooks have made this year so much easier with some much needed babysitting. Lifeline adoption agency is a wonderful place. Thank you for matching us with our son. You perform miracles everyday and are truly used by the hand's of God. He still has so much to learn. We have natural concerns about moving up another grade, but we have no doubt that our son will face every adversity with a strong determination. We are still praying for his salvation in Christ. We hope one day all the puzzle pieces will fit in his mind and Jesus will be more than just someone he learns about at church. We have officially moved his birthday to July 19th and will begin the readoption process next week. What a difference a year makes!