I don’t know who first declared October as Pastor Appreciation Month, but it’s never been a special focus for my congregation. I don’t get showered with Pastor Appreciation cards. No one plans a special worship celebration acknowledging my ministry and leadership. My church has never taken out a full-page ad in the local newspaper with my photo and an expression of their thanks as suggested by one LifeWay blogger–and good thing they haven’t, since I’d feel totally embarrassed!
A fellow blogger laments that blog comments are dying, and another lists reasons why readers might not leave a comment:
the post is already so complete they don’t know what to add,
they take exception to what’s written but don’t want to argue,
there’s no concrete question to respond to,
they’re too tired or too busy,
no one else is commenting.
In my few months’ experience with this blog, I would also add: many readers would rather respond privately than in a public comment where they might be identified.
I often think of the church as the body of Christ, a family of believers, a community of faith–and much less often as a “nonprofit organization.” That’s not a definition found in Scripture, yet in our twenty-first century, North American context, the church and church-related agencies do function as non-profit organizations with boards, budgets, personnel, and other responsibilities.
When a friend heard of my husband’s abrupt job termination through no fault of his own, she immediately responded, “You don’t have to tell me, but have they done this before?” And then she proceeded to tell me about another Christian organization with a history of abrupt and painful terminations. The stories she shared were from another community and another denomination, yet they sounded sadly familiar.
When I’m at church on a Sunday morning, I’m usually up front welcoming everyone to worship, leading prayer, or preaching. But one Sunday morning, as our youth led worship, I actually sat in the balcony with my husband. “How does it feel to have a week off?” one of our church members asked me.
Toxic Skill (noun)
something that you do well, but brings no life or energy;
a skill that has overstepped its intended bounds.
I had never heard of a toxic skill until I read Your Vocational Credo by Deborah Koehn Loyd (InterVarsity Press, 2015), and I was immediately intrigued both by her term and the way she described it.
When I was first called into pastoral ministry, both the church and I knew enough…