This is Pastor Appreciation Month. In the past twenty-six years, while serving as a Seminary professor, I have also served eighteen churches (two of them twice) as Interim Pastor; some for a few months, others for a few years. Interim Pastors are sometimes appreciated, sometimes not so much. While they fill a crucial role in the life of a church, allowing for transition, sometimes for periods of healing, giving the church time to find the right Pastor, they are occasionally seen as merely fill-ins, pulpit fillers, or as I was once introduced to a congregation, “our new temporary Pastor.” I can easily identify the churches where I was most successful in providing them the pastoral leadership needed. They are the ones who intentionally and consistently, prayed for me – in public and in private. One church actually requested that I stop by their Prayer Room on the way to both morning worship services where a small group of people waited to pray for me. A recent Internet article entitled, “Top Ten Gifts to Give Your Pastor” listed prayer as #1. J.C. Ryle, prolific writer and British Pastor in the late 1800s, wrote, “If we would have good ministers, we must remember our Lord’s example, and pray for them. Their work is heavy. Their responsibility is enormous. Their strength is small. Let us see that we support them, and hold up their hands by our prayers.” The Apostle Paul wrote, “We urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake” (1 Thess. 5:12-13). Pray for your Pastor this month, and then make it routine for every month thereafter.
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