Did you know Pastor Appreciation Day is October 8th this year? Now you do. Pastors play an often overlooked role in our society, and it’s important to consider the sacrifice and influence of pastors in our lives.

Can you think of a time when a pastor was there for you or had a significant impact on your life? Most of us can. Maybe you remember a job well done by a pastor at your child’s wedding. Or, you remember a pastor being there to console your family during hardship. Perhaps it was a pastor who first challenged you to think about eternal things or your character. Pastors care about people. This is what they do.

We recognize pastors not only for being there for us, but also for other reasons. For example, pastors make significant sacrifices through their committed service. They oftentimes work long hours, are paid very modestly, teach us about God, carry our burdens, and sometimes deal with difficult people (i.e., you and me). It’s an emotional load that can lead to professional burnout, even for the best of them. Even Jesus understood the demands of ministry and once told His own weary disciples to “come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while” (Mark 6:31). Pastors need to “come apart so they don’t come apart,” as the saying goes.

Pastoral stress is a very real problem in today’s busy world. According to pastor Ron Edmondson of Mustard Seed Ministry, in addition to preaching and teaching, pastors often fill many other roles, including: counselor, career coach, business advisor, custodian, arbitrator, social worker, volunteer coordinator, events manager, CEO, fundraiser, recruiter, trainer, scholar, writer, manager, and public relations. The stress of the job can show itself in a wide variety of ways, too: family and marital tension, financial strain, isolation and loneliness, physical health problems, and depression. And while studies about pastors are often limited or dated, we do know many still leave the profession because of these difficulties.

Christian Flag Cropped by Bradley Roberts
Photo by Bradley Roberts

So, with Pastor Appreciation Day approaching, remember those times when a pastor was there for you. Think about how important they are in our families, communities, and broader society. Consider the personal sacrifice made by pastors and their families. And then make it a point to appreciate them. How can you do that? Here are a couple links to give you ideas:

Forward Free’s mission is to mitigate and prevent the secondary consequences of trauma and stress experienced by pastors and others including first-responders, disabled and wounded veterans, missionaries, Gold Star families and other members of our communities through awareness, advocacy and compassionate service. This is in keeping with our vision to be the Nation’s leader in transforming people impacted by trauma or stress.