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Those are wonderful words to hear. It is encouraging when someone recognizes a job well done. Scripture says concerning God's men who shepherd His flock, "Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct," (Heb. 13:7).

October is designated "Pastor Appreciation Month." I was blessed as I served Pole Creek Baptist Church for a quarter century to be recognized, along with our staff, year after year. The deacons would plan this. Cards would be collected all through the month. On the last Sunday, a guest speaker would be brought in. A churchwide meal and fellowship would follow. They gifted us with money and graced us with their prayers. Our wives were often given flowers. It was encouraging! They continue today. I heard that their current pastor was given a couple of additional weeks off this month in recognition of ten years of being on staff there.

Let me tell you, it did not give me the "big head," but it did enlarge my heart. The more love they showed, the more love I wanted to share. God was glorified as His servants were honored, for without Him we could not do what we do. There is nothing special about me, but I have a wonderful Savior!

Gratitude should be our attitude. For all the sermons preached to you, all the prayers offered for you, all the ministry rendered to you--for all this and more, you need to say to your elders, "Great job!"

They need it. One hundred people can file by on Sunday morning with a handshake and say, "That spoke to me. Thank you," and what he will remember is the Monday morning e-mail that blasts him and says, "I'm leaving the church because I am not being fed." You would be surprised how often that happens and it is a devastating blow.

There has only been one perfect preacher--Jesus. I am not Him, and neither is your pastor. But, in our sometimes stumbling, bumbling way we try to point people to Him and model Him. We want you to hear His voice when we preach. We want His love to be shared through our embrace.

Read Chuck Lawless's article that follows for a different spin on pastor appreciation, but worth consideration.

With Appreciation for Haywood Baptist Pastors,

Dennis Thurman, AMS

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