October is Pastor's Appreciation Month! If you are a pastor or church leader and you are reading this, know that our team here at Subsplash loves and appreciates you! And if you aren't a pastor, we still love you, but we wanted to take a few minutes to share some encouragement for our friends who find themselves working in pastoral ministry.
Keep preaching the gospel
The question of "How do we get more people in the seats on Sundays?" seems to be one that many churches are constantly wrestling with. In order to accomplish this, it can be tempting to water down the gospel, only teach "less offensive" parts of scripture, or create other gimmicks to draw people in. But even the most elaborate, "culturally relevant" event cannot save people. Only Jesus can do that. If you want to reach more people for him, simply [lovingly, faithfully, and unapologetically] preach the gospel and love the people in your city. Even if you find yourself amidst a culture that is hostile toward Christianity, know that you have the most powerful, life-giving narrative on your side. Check out this video about our friends at Downtown Cornerstone Church to see how God is working amidst their commitment to teach the scriptures.
Lean on the Holy Spirit
In a culture where pragmatism rules, it can be easy to look at what other churches are doing and try to fit that into your model. There is certainly wisdom to be gained from the successes and failures of others, but don't forget that your particular context is unique, and so is the story God is writing for your ministry! There will always be tough decisions in ministry, and there will always be people who have opinions about those tough decisions, but the wisdom of the Holy Spirit is infallible. In every decision, lean in to the wisdom of the Spirit and move forward with boldness, knowing that God's direction is always best.
We all know someone who has been burned out from ministry. Maybe you feel that way right now. Your hard work as a pastor is important, but so is taking time to rest! Make sure you are spending time with your family, taking regular vacations, and ultimately, feeding yourself spiritually. God delights in our enjoyment of the blessings he's given to us, and that includes a relaxing week at the beach with your family. Don't deprive yourself of these blessings!
We know that your job isn't easy. It often requires long hours, hard conversations, and tough decisions. But take heart! God is working through you to spread his gospel to the ends of the earth, and that is the best mission in the world to be a part of. Know that you are loved, your work matters, and our team here at Subsplash is so thankful for you! Happy Pastor's Appreciation Month!
P.S. If you are reading this as someone who is a church member, make sure to encourage your pastors this month! Take their family out to dinner, buy them coffee, or simply say a kind word. Your encouragement will mean a lot!