October is Pastor Appreciation Month, and it brings to mind one clear reality: The role of the pastor in America seems to be more difficult with each passing year.
We on the ADF Church Alliance team are increasingly aware of the difficulty of this role as we talk with pastors across the country. We've interacted with thousands of pastors and have been to dozens of pastor conferences since the beginning of the year, and it's stunning to see these faithful servants doing so much.
It has been humbling and inspiring to speak with pastors who have a day job (or often a night job), and support the ministry needs of an entire church. Many of these bi-vocational pastors attending spiritual and educational gatherings are reaching into their own pocket to pay the costs of travel to meet with one another and be encouraged by powerful preaching.
Even for those who are in full-time ministry – without the need for a second job to make ends meet – the demands on their time are still seemingly endless.
Social media presence and activity is almost seen as a given. Accessibility at any time of the day is generally expected. It's a rare mix of regular, detailed administrative work; personal ministry to the deep needs of people; thorough study of scripture; and being the face and leader of a church.
One pastor client we met with this year had a particularly difficult range of duties: preaching on Sundays, running a shelter for female victims of abuse, serving with local government, and working a nine-to-five job.
After thousands of interactions with pastors, our appreciation for them has grown tremendously. So when we see governments and special interest groups attempting to silence, harass, hinder, or intimidate churches, we are honored to stand with them.
When we stand with pastors who are challenging their state government for adding abortion to their church's health care plan without even notifying them...
When we stood with pastors whose sermons were subpoenaed by their mayor for their opposition to a bill violating the privacy and safety of women and girls...
When we stand with churches that are treated like second-class citizens...
We recognize that it is the pastors who must first show the courage that the day calls for. It is their voice – with God's prompting and blessing – to the culture and the Church that often most makes the difference.
So this month, be sure to honor your pastor with your sincere appreciation. We need them to boldly fulfill their calling in this ever-demanding and ever-changing time.
The ADF Church Alliance was created to support them in that calling. We help carry the religious freedom legal burden of over 3,000 churches across America through ADF Church Alliance membership.
Visit the ADF Church Alliance website to learn more.
Originally posted at adflegal.org