As I went through the papers in my brother Stewart’s apartment, I was struck by how poorly he was treated as a pastor.
Goodness, how we fail at loving our pastors! We are quick to offer criticism and quick to complain. But it’s all wrong. Our complaints occur in the church kitchen, or the church nursery, or the church parking lot, to a fellow parishioner. We are not constructive. And, when I say “we”, I mean “I”.
But this is Pastor Appreciation Month. The other morning I made a list of all the pastors/ministers I could remember from the churches I have attended in my lifetime. I wanted to consider their ministries and pray for them.
Fourteen names appear on the list.
- Bob Herst (First Presbyterian Church of Cooperstown)
- Ron Hawkins (Main Street Baptist, Oneonta)
- Dave Cornell (associate pastor, Main Street Baptist, Oneonta)
- Ed Henning (Syracuse Alliance Church, Syracuse)
- Don Botbyl (associate pastor, Syracuse Alliance Church, Syracuse)
- Dick Burr (Cheyenne Alliance Church, Cheyenne)
- Ken Niswender (Meadowbrook Baptist Church, Cheyenne)
- Steve Holmes (Community Bible Chapel, Toddsville)
- Wayne Taylor (Community Bible Chapel, Toddsville)
- Roger English (Community Bible Chapel, Toddsville)
- Jack Klosheim (Community Bible Chapel, Toddsville)
- Chuck Reppard (Berean Bible Church, Greene)
- Justin Bleuer (Berean Bible Church, Greene)
Amy Gregory (First United Methodist Church, Greene)
Two pastors let us borrow their personal automobile for a period of days when we were in need. Generosity above and beyond. Thank you for holding your earthly possessions with open hands and for sharing so generously.
At least three pastors didn’t follow the Bible school or divinity school track to the ministry, but worked regular jobs, like running a dry cleaner or having a coca-cola sales route or doing carpentry, before following God’s leading to full-time ministry. Common men with a heart for God. I love that you were once one of us; it’s a wonderful example.
Some are excellent teachers. Thank you for all your wise words.
Some are highly intellectual and deep thinkers. You have challenged me to dig deeper and look at things from different perspectives. Thank you.
Some care and nurture from the very depths of their being. What a blessing you are to me and to others! I know caring like that comes at a cost.
None of the pastors on the list are flawless. Being a pastor doesn’t mean perfection. In fact, it forces mere humans to live in a fishbowl. Forgive me for the times I failed to extend grace to you.
Each is gifted slightly differently. All are following a calling.
I look at that list of names and consider what a rich heritage I have.
They are a great cloud of witnesses.
I am blessed.
Thank you — to each of one. I am better for having known you and having sat under your teaching.
Have you thanked your pastor lately?