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Pastors may be experiencing the most challenging 9 months of their career right now. As churches navigate COVID-19, our pastors have stepped up and served the front lines as they balance planning for the unknown, comforting their congregation in new ways, and adjusting to new technologies, seemingly overnight, all while maintaining their usual day-to-day tasks.

As pastors face one of the most uncertain and challenging times the collective church has faced in modern days, there’s been a spike in mental health crises amongst ministry leaders feeling unparalleled burnout from the weight of these burdens. Now is the perfect time to repay the love and support our pastors have given us through this global crisis as the month of October is Pastor Appreciation Month.

Pastor Appreciation Month is a special time that congregations set aside each year to honor their pastors and pastoral families for the hard work, sacrificial dedication and multiple blessings provided by these special people. It is important to remember that appreciation, affirmation and prayer support of our spiritual leaders is appropriate throughout the entire year.

The nature of the service provided by pastors and their families is unique. God has entrusted to them one of the most precious of assignments — the spiritual well-being of His flock. When a pastor becomes ineffective, the very souls of his or her parishioners are endangered. When eternity is in the balance, we should all be concerned.

Pastors and their families live under incredible pressures. Their lives are played out in a fishbowl, with the entire congregation and community watching their every move. They are expected to have ideal families, to be perfect people, to always be available, to never be down and to have all the answers we need to keep our own lives stable and moving forward. Those are unrealistic expectations to place on anyone, yet most of us are disappointed when a pastor becomes overwhelmed, seems depressed, lets us down or completely burns out.

That’s why God has instructed us to recognize His servants. “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching” (1 Timothy 5:17).

The good news is that we can make a difference! Pastor Appreciation Month is one way we can counter the negative erosion in the lives of our spiritual leaders with the positive affirmation they need. So think creatively this month and do something special to honor your pastor.