LEESBURG, FL – The most important people in my life, as a demographic, have been my pastors. You probably feel the same. October is Pastor Appreciation Month, and the second Sunday in October is observed as Pastor Appreciation Day.
It is fitting, therefore, that we dedicate at least one article to appreciating the men who have dedicated themselves to God’s call to shepherd His people.
Pastors feed the flock by teaching the Word without apology. They lead us by living according to the principles of the Word. They intercede for us and the burdens we bear. They tend to us in our sorrow and care. They love us enough to walk beside us during difficult times.
Yes, we should show our appreciation for them during Pastor Appreciation Month. They are “there” for us. We’ll talk more about that later. Let’s be there for them.
The question on my mind at the moment is, “Where do pastors go when they need understanding, encouragement, and care?”
When it comes right down to the nitty-gritty, pastors are people – just like you and I. They are not exempt from trials, temptations, tribulations, heartaches, grief, and sorrow.
When we face these issues, we call our pastor. When he faces these issues, who does he call?
The Lord has raised up at least one missions organization to fill that need. The mission of Care for Pastors, based in Leesburg, Florida, is “To uphold pastoral families in ministry by providing the safest place for them to turn, an ongoing relationship of encouragement and counsel, and resources that ignite growth in the pastor’s family, church and community.”
Care for Pastors’ goal is “To see every pastoral family persevering in ministry, developing a healthy church, and leading in community transformation.”
The Lord began to impress Ron Cook, himself a pastor at the time, of a need for a ministry that cares for pastors. Cook believed that the Lord wanted him to establish a “place where pastors could feel safe to be vulnerable and honest with ministry and married life struggles.”
The Cooks established a structure that provides that safe place. It is based on six principles.
- We will act according to the teachings of Jesus Christ and consistently demonstrate behavior that honors God.
- BIBLICAL TRUTH. We will hold fast to the unchanging, infallible principles of God’s Holy Word as a foundation for all decisions.
- We will minister to Church leaders without judgment and condemnation in an effort to help them more fully embrace God’s calling on their lives.
- We will build a relational ministry with like-minded individuals and entities that are based on a spirit of collaboration and strategic alliance.
- We will honor God with our hearts and minds and consistently seek direction from the Holy Spirit in all matters.
- We will honor a code of counseling ethics and practice discretion in all communications with those we serve.
Care for Pastors was established as a non-profit ministry in 2004. Ron and his wife, Rodetta, took hold of the leadership reigns full-time in 2011.
The ministry has experienced incredible growth, having already cared for thousands of pastors, as well as pastors’ wives and kids over the past decade. Care for Pastors utilizes both on-site and online coaching and counseling.
Pray for the growth, empowerment, and impact of Care for Pastors. And don’t forget to let your pastor know that you appreciate him.
Source: Care for Pastors, Official Website