by Josh King, Director of Communications
This past weekend, I had the blessing to be in Sky Valley, Georgia for my brother’s wedding. We woke to an incredible autumn view (pictured below) every morning. This is the scenery I used to expect of September, but now I’ve accepted it as more of an October thing. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Tallahassee, everything starts a little later…including the fall.
I’ve learned to appreciate October after four years in Tallahassee. See, in Virginia, where my wife and I are from, fall is one of FOUR seasons, and it begins in September. That’s when the trees start to transform into the amazing colors of autumn…something I’m sure most Florida natives only ever dream about!
But October is not just special to me for the changing colors, cooler weather and nostalgic memories of my home state. It’s also Pastor Appreciation Month.
Honestly, it has become a bit of a cultural trend to dedicate whole months to any number of worthy and sometimes silly causes (in case you were wondering, Zombie Awareness Month is May). Pastor Appreciation Month is one of the truly worthy ones in my book. It’s a great opportunity to recognize our spiritual leaders and how much we value their shepherding care of our church family.
Now I’m not a pastor, just a lowly Director of Communications. But I am the son of a preacher man, so I can personally vouch for the burden pastors must bear as leaders of a community that relies on them for more than just Sunday morning teaching.
At Wildwood, we are blessed to not only have one pastor, but three.
If you’re engaged in our church family life week to week, you know just how involved Pastors Bob, Barksdale, and Todd are in caring for and ministering to the families, children, couples, singles, students, and seniors at Wildwood…and not just on Sunday morning.
We call on these guys for clarity in times of confusion; wisdom in times of conflict; comfort in times of pain; hope in times of despair; counsel in times of hardship; courage in times of fear; and the list could go on and on.
I think we would all agree that God is ultimately the source of all of these things…but isn’t it interesting how often we turn to our pastors for them?
I don’t think it’s a coincidence. After all, God raises up shepherds, our pastors, to lead us and point us to the True Shepherd…Jesus (John 10:11). We largely look to them as “representations” of Jesus in our lives, even if sometimes our expectations of them can be a little unfair for men who are just as human as we are.
The reality is that pastors are sheep too. They are just as needy as the rest of us; but the True Shepherd has given these men a special calling and equipped them to feed and lead His sheep on mission into the world. They point us to the true source of abundant life (John 10:10) in the midst of our chaotic lives. And in many ways, they lay down their own lives to benefit the flock.
That’s a huge calling, one I think we all too often forget (at best) or ignore (at worst). Pastor Appreciation Month serves as a great reminder of the call these men have been given, and just how much we SHOULD appreciate them!
I encourage you to take some time this October, maybe even this Sunday, to let Pastors Bob, Barksdale, and Todd know how much you personally value and appreciate them, and commit to pray for them.
We would all be a mess without our Shepherd Jesus…but we would also be a real mess without the shepherds Jesus has given us.