October is Pastor Appreciation Month.
Not only this month, but all year there are people in my life who let me know I am appreciated. A week or so ago a lady who attends my church told me that she appreciated the fact that her son "got" the message. It had given her good opportunity for conversation. A new couple expressed appreciation for the investment that I and others at CBC are making in their lives. A colleague in leadership has graciously, and conspicuously worked with me in hard times. My wife not only thanks me for sharing the Word of God in my messages, she does so with an obvious awareness of, and yieldedness to the word that was shared in the sermon. A gentleman who is part of my church just let me know that he would help me get to a meeting to which I need to go.
Perhaps the greatest appreciation: I just got off the phone with someone in whom I have invested years of ministry. We were talking about plans to invest what she/he has gained in a new generation of ministry.
There are those I have pastored who show their appreciation for what I have passed on by making tough, but right decisions.
My wife and I received gifts from our congregation this month. We appreciate each sincerely given offering of appreciation, but these "life-gifts" mean the most.
With that in mind I want to take a moment and mention pastors I appreciate.
Rev. Eugene Marsceau was my pastor in my later childhood and teen years. He became my Father-in-law. He taught me to love the word of God, and that people matter. Most of the churches he pastored were not successful in the way that gets one written up in a book. He succeeded with me. He is with the Lord now. I appreciate him.
Rev. Victor Decker was my pastor my last two years in college. He didn't treat me like one of the boys from the college. He regarded me as a young man headed into ministry who needed all the guidance and challenge he could give. Pastor Decker traveled more than 500 miles for my ordination. He modeled faithfulness. I appreciate you, Pastor Decker.
A pastor in another town ministered to a loved one of mine. As I put it Pastor Kirk "walked to Hell and back" with him and held his hand the whole way. I appreciate that, brother.
My Son, Chris, is Pastor of Global Outreach in a church that has more people in it on Sunday morning than live in the town where he grew up and I still pastor. I appreciate your passion, son. I greatly enjoy the relationship of colleagues in ministry that is ours. One of the most fun phone calls I ever made was calling first First Baptist in Mound City Kansas, and asking for Rev. Merrell, adding, "This is Rev. Merrell calling."
A appreciate my guys who are in Ecuador, Honduras, New Zealand and Allentown PA. It is an incredible joy to see Doug, Fred, Pink, and Daniel serving the Lord, making a difference for Him in this world. On days when things look black I hope it helps to know that I appreciate you.
I am privileged to have two friends in ministry, Billy and Dan. All three of us are pastoring our first churches. Two of us have grown gray and one nearly bald in the work of the Lord in this little mill town. These guys have pastored me, visiting me in the hospital, helped me bury my dad, and labored to keep me on track. I have breakfast with them most Thursdays. I appreciate you guys.
One of the titles by which my Lord goes is the "Chief Shepherd" (Pastor).
Lord, I so much appreciate the fact that You never leave or forsake me, and for more than thirty-seven years You have given me the opportunity to share in the work that You are doing.