Pastor Appreciation Month

3 Simple Joys of Pastoral Ministry

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October is pastor appreciation month. You will probably hear an extra dose of appreciation from the people you serve. As you soak in the extra encouragement this month, also take some time to think about what you appreciate about being a pastor. Here are three simple joys of pastoral ministry to help you get started:

1. Preaching the Scriptures

You get to study and teach the Bible. You get to unfold God’s holy, inspired Word for God’s people on a weekly basis.

The God who spoke all things into existence has commissioned you to be His partner in the building of His Kingdom through the transformation of His people into His Son’s image.

God is faithful to accomplish His saving and sanctifying work through your work of rightly dividing the Word of truth.

What an incomprehensible privilege.

As Paul says, the gospel is the power of God! (Romans 1:16)

Which is why he goes on to say:

For ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How will they then call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? . . . So faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10: 13–14, 17).

You get to participate in God’s supernatural work of salvation. Soak that in. And, by His design, your participation is as simple as speaking the gospel as revealed in Scripture. What a mystery! What an honor! The next time you think, “I have to prepare another sermon.” Change one word—“I get to prepare another sermon.”

What a joy it is to preach God’s Word.

The next time you think, “I have to prepare another sermon.” Change one word—“I get to prepare another sermon.”

2. Loving God’s People

Happiness is not found in serving yourself. Happiness is found in serving God and others. This is God’s design. Fighting it is like kicking the concrete wall of how things work. Do you want to find more joy and fulfillment in your calling? Love God’s people. Write a card. Send a text. Make a call. Buy a meal.

Pastoring begins to feel like a pain when you function as if it is about your own satisfaction.

Don’t get me wrong, pastoring is satisfying (that’s the point of this post). But it is not satisfying in the way that your fleshly self is bent on pursuing its own gratification by way of serving yourself. Pastoring satisfies only when we reflect Jesus, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2). Check that—loving satisfies only when we reflect Jesus. As a Christ-follower, your cross is your only path to joy.

“Aha!” You might be thinking, “So you are saying that pastoring is a ‘cross’ to bear?” You bet I am. But not in the Eeyore-embodying, woe-is-me, “I gotta bear this awful cross” demeanor people often exude when talking about whatever “cross” they’re bearing at the moment.

On the contrary, every “cross” we are called to bear—every opportunity to lay down our lives for the good of others—is an invitation to deeper joy. Even if loving God’s people were not a source of joy, it would still be a privilege. But it is a source of joy! God has joy waiting for us when we lay down our lives to fulfill our pastoral duties.

What a joy it is to love God’s people.

On the contrary, every “cross” we are called to bear—every opportunity to lay down our lives for the good of others—is an invitation to deeper joy.

3. Being Loved by God’s People

Some sheep bite sometimes. No doubt.

But let’s be real—the biting sheep are the minority. Most people in the church are precious and want nothing but the absolute best for you and your family.

You may not feel like singing “How Sweet It Is (to be Loved by You)” at every thought of the church you serve.

But why not?

Perhaps pastors would be a more joyful bunch if we regularly took time to stop and thank God for the simple joy of being loved and appreciated by His people.

Being loved by God’s people has a humbling effect. You know you are unworthy. You know you are insufficient. You know your service is imperfect. And yet, they love you. And yet, they appreciate you.

Sure, not every church member you’ve ever served has always loved and appreciated you. But do not let the small handful of biters steal the joy God intends to show you through the vast majority of people who do love and appreciate you more than you will ever know!

Yes, you carry some burdens only other pastors can fully understand. But you also get to experience some unique joys that only other pastors get to experience. Being loved by a local church as their pastor is one of those joys.

What a joy it is to be loved by God’s people.

  • Pastor Appreciation Month
Quentin Self

Quentin Self is the Lead Pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Canton, GA. He holds a Masters of Divinity from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in preaching from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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