Happy Pastor Appreciation Month!
In October, we celebrate Pastor Appreciation Month and recognize all rostered ministers—pastors and deacons. While I appreciate our rostered ministers and all that they do year-round, I am grateful for the opportunity to reflect on and share my appreciation that Pastor Appreciation Month provides. I invite congregation leaders and members to take this opportunity to do the same.
This Pastor Appreciation Month, I express appreciation on behalf of those who will not express appreciation not because they do not want to, but because they are genuinely unaware of what their pastor or deacon is doing for them.
I express appreciation for pastors and deacons who do not short change sermon preparation. Most people genuinely do not know how much time and effort it takes to prepare a sermon. I express appreciation for pastors and deacons who, week after week, devote the time, energy, prayer, and study necessary to be faithful and diligent as they prepare their sermons.
Pastors and deacons, I express the appreciation of those who do not know, and may never know, that you pray for them. Thank you for remembering them in your heart and before our God.
I express the appreciation of those for whom you have unexpectedly said to your family or friends, “I’m sorry I can’t, I have to work.” You know the disappointment and sacrifice of those you love. I extend the appreciation of those for whom you and they sacrifice.
I express the appreciation of those who said something hurtful to you, did something hateful to you, or treated you with disrespect and to whom you did not respond with anger, exasperation, or despair. We are quick to talk any time a pastor or deacon fails to respond with grace. I express appreciation for all the times that you do.
I express the appreciation of those in your neighborhood and community who will never come to your church, but on some level regard you as their pastor or as a tangible reminder that God is in their midst. I express appreciation for those moments when you feel like you live in a fishbowl, need a little time to go unnoticed, or need to be left alone.
I express appreciation for the times when you have felt compelled to be prophetic and no one said thanks or heeded your words. Thank you especially for those times when you were prophetic not about the ELCA or Washington D.C., but about your own congregation and community. I express the appreciation of those on whose behalf you spoke or acted.
I express appreciation for retired pastors who continue to preach the Word, administer the Sacraments, and support colleagues in active ministry. I express appreciation for retired pastors who have found a new vocation in retirement and have genuinely entrusted their former ministry to the Lord of the church.
I express appreciation, pastors and deacons, that you do not do any of these things to be appreciated. Rather, you do these things out of an appreciation for the words of the gospel, the power of prayer, the needs of God’s people, the nearness of God’s reign, and the gift of God’s grace, all made known to you in Jesus Christ, who calls you and who, I trust and pray, sustains you.
I pray that you feel even a few moments of appreciation in October. You are appreciated by me, your bishop, and by many others who genuinely do not know how much they appreciate you.
The Rev. Craig Alan Satterlee, Ph.D., Bishop