Pastor Appreciation Day in the Church of God is emphasized in April and October, with the first observance coming on Sunday, April 28, 2013. An alternative date is October 13, 2013.
While congregations and local church leadership teams are encouraged to honor and affirm the pastor all year long, a specific Pastor Appreciation observance is an important time for the pastor’s family and the entire congregation to “honor the shepherd.”
According to David Gosnell, coordinator of men’s ministries for the Church of God, there are a few reasons Pastor Appreciation Day should be celebrated:
* The Word of God teaches us to give honor to whom honor is due (I Tim. 5:17). Elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is teaching and preaching;
* Pastors have a great responsibility to help every believer discover God’s plan for their life, and to grow to become mature believers faithfully fulfilling their divine purpose in the kingdom;
* Appreciation and affirmation are great blessings to a pastor and his/her family in this high stress occupation. Satan goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. The pastor and his/her family are primary targets. The enemy knows that striking the shepherd is a blow against the entire congregation. Consider these statistics:
• 1,500 pastors leave the ministry permanently each month in America.
• 80% of pastors and 85% of their spouses feel discouraged in their roles.
• 71% of pastors say they are burned out, and they battle depression beyond fatigue on a weekly and even daily basis.
• One out of every ten ministers will actually retire as a minister.
* Your pastor is a gift to the church who shepherds the flock of God. This means that he/she feeds, protects, leads, and provides care for the flock.
The theme, Living the Word with our Pastor, was chosen to blend with the focus of the Church of God set forth at the 2012 General Assembly: Living the Word: Empowered for Our Future.
“As the local congregation comes together in living God’s Word with their pastor, there will be an empowerment for the future—full operation of the gifts of the Spirit, a flowing force of unity, and maximum outreach effectiveness,” Gosnell stated. “This year’s Pastor Appreciation emphasis will also undergird the biblical position of the pastor and the role of the people as partners in ministry with him.”
Pastor Appreciation will achieve seven goals:
1. HONOR. The position of the pastor as commissioned by God to guide the congregation in fulfilling the mission of the local church is honored.
2. RESPECT. The scriptural role and responsibilities of the pastor are highlighted. This results in respect and loyalty.
3. UNITY. The entire church is brought together in one accord to embrace God’s pattern of living His Word in harmony as a united body of believers.
4. IMAGE. As people in the community/city witness the togetherness of the people with their pastor, the image of the church is elevated and a strong bond of trust is established.
5. TRAINING. Through the activities of Pastor Appreciation, children and youth are taught God’s operational plan for the local church and how they are a vital part of the plan.
6. FOCUS. The church family is led to focus on what can take place in praise and worship when there is a clear vision and binding loyalty in the partnership ministry with their pastor.
7. GROWTH. It is God’s will for the church family to grow in discipleship maturity and in reaching the unchurched. Living the Word with the pastor is the pathway that leads to experiencing the abundant blessings of living God’s will and the flow of grace in the congregation.
A complete Pastor Appreciation Day program guide is available for free download, and Pastor Appreciation Day gifts and resources are also obtainable at www.pathwaybookstore.com. The guide was written by Dr. Floyd Carey and includes a wealth of ideas, planning tips, sermons and much more.