Not Just The Top Dog

As it's been stated before, October is Pastor Appreciation Month. This is a reminder to us to make sure that we let those who have been given the task of shepherding God's people know that we appreciate their service. In my experience, church members take this month pretty serious in writing letters/notes and showering their pastor with gifts and dinners. That is good and all but sometimes an important thing gets overlooked.

If your church runs more than 20 people, you probably have more than one pastor at your church. They may take the title of worship pastor, youth pastor, children's pastor, education pastor, missions pastor, etc. They may be full-time, bi-vocational, or straight up volunteer. Whatever the title they carry, they are performing the duties of a pastor.

As one who has served as a youth pastor over the past 13 years, this month has been either really good or really depressing. Really good because the tokens of appreciation would come at just the right time. Little "pick-me-ups" to brighten the day.

The times that this month would be depressing is that the ministers on staff at a church other than the senior pastor would be overlooked. Sometimes this happened unintentionally. Other times, these other ministers just weren't seen as "real pastors."

It would make my skin crawl and my stomach turn every time someone would ask me if I was ever going to be a "real minister" and not just a "youth guy." The work of a youth pastor (children, education, worship, missions, insert whatever title you choose) is ever much as demanding as the senior pastor. Those who come alongside the senior pastor and help with ministry need to be encouraged and affirmed just as the senior pastor does.

Do you want to see your youth (children, worship, etc) pastor get a fresh wind? Lift them up and recognize them as pastors worthy of honor in the church. Some of my greatest times of student ministry came when the church said, "you are one of our pastors, and we appreciate what you do."

The interesting part of this is that this mindset has to be taught by the senior pastor. If he doesn't recognize the supporting ministers, then the congregation won't either. If you are a senior pastor, make sure that you are lifting those support ministers up. The congregation will follow your lead.

Take time to encourage all the pastors at your church today.