The calendar is chalk full of commemorations and observances. The secular world populates the calendar with famous observances like Halloween and the not so famous, like the proclamation that makes it National Popcorn Popping Month. The church does much the same thing by honoring certain nobles on certain days. In October, in addition to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, we’ll honor many of the Apostles (St. James, St. Jude, St. Simon, and the other St. James). At my house, it should be a double celebration because October is National Pharmacists month (my wife is one) and Clergy Appreciation Month.
It’s doubtful that my wife and I will take a minute to celebrate either of those honors, however, I urge you to give some thought to how you might honor your pastor.
The stress on pastors has never been light and these days with fewer pastors coming out of seminary the burden is growing. It is not unusual to know several pastors in each district of our church who are now serving three parishes. Quite a few serve either two congregations with many acting as chaplains for various emergency services organizations or other ministry enterprises in addition to serving a congregation. While the increasing volume of work isn’t necessarily bad, it is essential that these extra efforts are recognized for the good that the Lord does through them and that the pastors are encouraged and supported as they take on the extra load.
Caring for pastors is everyone’s job and one that we take very seriously here at Lutheran Family Service. We work with pastors to support their counseling efforts, encouraging, assisting, and in many cases taking their referrals when the mental health or marriage issues are beyond their training. We work with pastors and wives who face these stepped-up pressures in their own lives to help them with their individual struggles and to protect their marriages. This month, two of our LFS counselors will be leading workshops for clergy wives to better help them manage their unique stress as a pastor’s wife. Our work in support of pastors and their families is not new and it doesn’t just happen in October.
That’s where your help is needed and so greatly appreciated! Please know that your gifts to LFS help support the counseling and training ministry we provide to clergy and their families. This work is provided at no cost to the pastor. And I encourage you to help in two more ways: pray for your pastor and thank God for him, then tell him. Your encouragements along the way will make a big difference in how ready and able he is to joyfully carry on the Lord’s work in your midst.
The church has been bestowed with a special gift of those the Lord calls into the public ministry. Thank you for your support of them and for your help for them (as well as so many others) provided through Lutheran Family Service.
God is good (and not just in October!)
Rev. Max Phillips
P.S. God works through pharmacists too, especially Christian ones. Thank your pharmacist, too, when you have the chance!