By Bill Ellis
Special to ASSIST News Service
SCOTT DEPOT, WV (ANS) — Pastors are among the most significant and respected men and women in the nation. They are the country’s spiritual leaders. It is a divine calling. Speaking of Christ and His mission on this earth, St. Paul said, “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry . . . ” (Ephesians 4:11-12).
Pastors are called by God and placed in the church to help lead, teach, train, nourish and assist others to mature in their spiritual lives. Pastors advise, instruct, comfort and stand by us in the most important and difficult times of life.
Years ago someone came up with the idea that pastors should be honored and blessed by their congregations each year during October. Include special recognition for each member of the ministerial staff. Here are some suggestions to which you may add hundreds more as to what you and others may do.
1. Provide for the pastor and family a special dinner, at your expense, either at your house or some restaurant of choice.
2. If the pastor is a golfer, bowler, sports fan, fisher, hunter or involved in any unusual activity, the church or individuals might assume the expense for such an occasion 3-6 times each year.
3. Keep a scrapbook each year of all that happens in the life of the pastor and the church. Mrs. Charles (Nona) Cissna kept such books for more than 20 years for her pastor at Peoples Church of God, Decatur, Illinois. He calls them, “one of the finest and most enjoyable gifts I ever received — a treasure for the rest of life.”
4. Write news releases for the church and pastor if you have journalistic and computer skills. It can be learned. I have taught hundreds of people how to do it.
5. Provide the pastor and spouse with a trip to the Holy Land. It will enrich their preaching and teaching ministry. Buy them a ticket to the Holy Land — and the return ticket.
6. Be sure your pastor is enrolled in the church’s pension plan or some other that might be even better. Dr. E. E. Wolfram used to say, “The church calls a pastor for 40 years, but God calls them for life.”
7. Help your pastor purchase his own house in which to live. If they live in a church owned parsonage, be sure to provide a housing equity plan so when the time comes to purchase their own house they will have enough money to do so.
8. Provide academic educational opportunities for the pastor that will carry through the masters and doctoral levels. These study opportunities will serve to bless the church.
9. The congregation can provide vacation time and expenses for the pastor and family. Too often they do not earn enough for family vacations.
10. Provide expense allowances for all ministry-related events such as, conventions, ministers meetings, camp meetings, mission trips and a service club.
11. A generous book allowance and a new book or two each month are a genuine blessing.
12. The church should always make certain that the pastor has a new or newer car that is safe, dependable, comfortable and with good tires.
13. Being a “Baker’s dozen” this last suggestion is that you simply tell your pastor how much he is appreciated by cards, letters, simple gifts and other gestures.
Let your pastor know how much they are appreciated by you and your family. As I was growing up, the pastor was an increasingly significant person in my life and for each member of the family. They were my mentors and my examples on how to live.