An article in the Christian Post, written by Gary Wilkerson, Voices Contributor, Why it’s Important to Pray for Your Pastor, reflects that while many Americans are hanging spooky decorations and picking out costumes in preparation of Halloween, October is also Clergy Appreciation Month. It’s a time to not only celebrate church leaders but also to remember the important role they play in our society and local communities, including the significance of their physical and mental health.

Pastors are exposed to the depths of human suffering, unlike any other profession. The paramedic is there following an accident, but the pastor walks alongside the family at the hospital. The funeral home director takes care of the death of a family member, but the pastor provides spiritual support. The doctor takes care of the cancer patient while the pastor prays for them. The teacher educates the student with a disability while the pastor helps support the family. It is the pastor who is expected to be present and supportive through all of life’s challenges and tragedies. They are sharing in all the suffering of their flock. The weight of this burden can be heavy.

Being a pastor is a public position. Criticism is ripe for any sermon, prayer, event and so forth. Pastors are constantly hearing if their sermon was good or not, if an event was worthwhile to attend or poorly managed. Criticism can have tremendous effects on a pastor’s self-esteem and self-worth. For pastors who are self-critical as well, this can add to the burden and uphill battle to maintain a positive outlook.

Gary Wilkerson further wrote that “in recent years, the topic that got the most response on my podcast was around pastors, depression and suicide. Listeners were dissatisfied with the idea that a pastor would be dealing with things like depression. Instead, listeners felt that pastors should be providing answers to life’s problems—not experiencing them. This thinking emerges when we put pastors on a pedestal. We must remember that pastors are human just like the rest of us. While they should be “a step ahead of us” in our spiritual journey in order to lead us along, we can’t demand more of them than that. Pastors experience hardship and emotions just like the rest of us.  

Pastors must learn self-care. Like the old adage says, “Put your own oxygen mask on first before helping someone else,” it is vital that pastors are emotionally, mentally and spiritually healthy in order to do their job well. However, pastors are often put in a position that they must care for everyone else first. While admirable, over the long haul, this approach will only leave them burnt out and empty.

As Christians, we should commit to praying for our pastors and church leaders each day. I implore you to make this a regular practice during the month of October. Our pastors do better when they live healthy, spirit-filled lives. Let’s do all that we can to help and encourage them.



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October is Pastor Appreciation Month
…thank yours pastors!

Let’s Celebrate Our Pastors!

And he gave some, Apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Ephesians 4:11-12 KJV




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