During this Thanksgiving time, I am reminded how much we as pastors should be thankful for our church. Sometimes in our desire to “succeed in ministry,” we forget to be truly grateful! It’s too easy to be envious about what God is doing somewhere else, while forgetting God’s blessings in our own life and ministry. Never let jealousy displace gratitude.
Paul In his writings used the word “thank” or “thanks” forty-six different times! In fact, he said it is God’s will for us to be grateful: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV)
As I look back on my 38 years of pastoring, I wish I spent more time thanking people and letting them know I loved them! Here are five reasons I’m thankful for the church.
I’m thankful for your prayers. Your prayers have made a difference in my ministry and family. During my pastoring years, I’ve had the privilege of praying together with God’s people. Whether it was one-on-one or a small group meeting in a home or a prayer team before a service, God met us as we talked with each other and with Him. Thank you for your faithfulness in prayer!
I’m thankful for your commitment. Thank you for your commitment to Christ and His church! We all have busy lives, but I’m amazed how so many people selflessly give of their time, using their gifts and talents to help others. I’ve cringed at the fact that as a pastor I was “paid” to be there while you willingly served after a long day or week at work. Thank you!
I’m thankful for your encouragement. Okay, I’m insecure. I love to hear you say things like: “You did a good job!” “Great message!” “Thanks for listening.” Each time your kind words lifted my spirit.
I’m thankful for your patience. Looking back on my ministry, I could have done things better! Sometimes I moved too fast. I didn’t listen enough. I got too focused on the goals and not enough on others. I’m so grateful for those that hung in there with me, despite my shortcomings.
I’m thankful for your generosity. It’s been a privilege to be part of a church of giving people. The church is at the grassroots of ministry. Missionaries around the world were supported, needs in the community were met, and neighbors were shown God’s love because of your faithful giving. Your personal generosity both to the church and to our family has meant so much. Thank you!
BEFORE YOU GO…
On a personal note, I’m deeply grateful for New Hope. Linda and I feel honored to have pastored this wonderful group of people for 31 ½ years. I’m also grateful for the leadership Pastor Clint continues to give to the church. To the people of New Hope, thank you!!
Now as Conference Superintendent, I still find that I am thankful for your prayers, your commitment, your encouragement, your patience, and your generosity. It’s my privilege to serve in this new ministry role and God’s faithfulness along with the faithfulness of our people still sustain me. I’m grateful.
Pastor, what are you thankful for in your church? When was the last time you let them know?