So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. -1 Thessalonians 2:8
Some of you may know that October is Pastor Appreciation month. Pastoring is hard work and it certainly is nice to know that you are appreciated.
What I want to do with this brief post is turn things around for a moment. I want to let the people of New Life Church know how much I appreciate them and love them. Let me count the ways…
- We came to South Dakota from…New Jersey! And even with that being the case, you have warmly embraced my entire family. My kids are not perfect, but you have not held them to a different standard than others kids in the church. Thank you for adopting us and making us feel at home here in Watertown! Your love for my family touches my heart on a very deep and profound level.
- You guys are flat out fun to hang out with. You love to laugh and enjoy life, and it has been a pleasure getting to know you.
- You want to make a difference in the lives of people outside our church walls. I have seen your compassion, love, and mercy displayed in our city, and I know that it brings much joy to God’s heart.
- You are not afraid to roll up your sleeves and serve. There are so many people who, week in and week out, are making a difference behind the scenes. The spot light may not be on you, but you don’t mind and keep serving anyway. This is one of the main characteristics of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
- You care for other people in our church. It would not be possible to count all the meals you have made for people in the church, the cards you have written, the long conversations with people who are hurting or need encouragement, the generosity you have shown, all the prayers that have been prayed, and the ways that you carry each others’ burdens.
- You love Jesus. Isn’t this the key to the whole thing? Paul made it clear that it is not enough just to be religious when he wrote these words, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” I see a genuine love for Christ in your life, and this is the most important thing of all.
So if October is Pastor Appreciation month, maybe we should make November Congregational Appreciation month. New Life Church, I want you to know that I love you very much, and I continue to be incredibly grateful that God has given me the joy and honor of being your pastor.