October is a weird month in the life of what we know as “the church.” It has been declared pastor appreciation month, and many congregations try to figure out how to do that.
Our congregation is great at appreciation. They create skits every year, they collect money, they honor us well. Last year, they even brought family members from out of town and housed them and fed them in order to surprise us. People even frequently start conversations with, “I bet you don’t get told this often enough, but I appreciate you.”
Of course, for you who understand gratitude, the fact that people say that means that we do hear it. In fact, we probably hear from people way more than many congregations. What I always want to say, however, is, “No, thank YOU for all you do.”
See, I love being involved in the lives of people, helping them think and feel. I love that I have this passion to help people emotionally understand the truth of God’s work. But I also love that other people have different gifts and skills and passions. And I love that the image God gives for what the church is supposed to be is a body, not a lecture hall or a classroom or a recital hall where you go to watch a finely created performance.
What I want more than anything is to be part of the process of people getting to know a real God. And while I like being thanked as much as the next person, if I somehow become a hired hand, then something isn’t working.
So I appreciate being appreciated. And I appreciate being able to appreciate others. And I’m always glad to get past this day and back to all working together to figure out what this all means.