Doug Johnson: Take time out to praise your pastor

Published 5:22 am Sunday, October 23, 2022

October is national Clergy Appreciation Month so I would like to dedicate this article to the men and women who have faithfully answered God’s call to preach the Gospel.

According to the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, there are more than 600,000 clergymen and women serving in Christian churches in the United States.

Years ago, I read an amusing story: A church had been without a pastor for a few months and the pulpit committee was having a hard time finding a new one.

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One Sunday morning, the head deacon stood up and announced to the congregation that the committee had a letter from a prospective candidate.

With everyone listening attentively, the board member read the letter:

“Dear Gentlemen: Understanding your pulpit is vacant, I should like to apply for the position. I have many qualifications. I’ve been a preacher with much success and also some success as a writer. Some say I’m a good organizer. I’ve been a leader most places I’ve been.

I’m over 50 years of age. I have never preached in one place for more than three years.

In some places, I have left town after my work caused riots and disturbances. I must admit I have been in jail three or four times, but not because of any real wrongdoing.

My health is not too good, though I still get a great deal done. The churches I have preached in have been small, though located in several large cities.

I’ve not gotten along well with religious leaders in towns where I have preached. In fact, some have threatened me and even attacked me physically. I am not too good at keeping records. I have been known to forget whom I have baptized.

However, if you can use me, I shall do my best for you.” The head deacon looked at the congregation.

“Well, what do you think? Shall we call him?”

The church folks were aghast. Call an unhealthy, troublemaking, absent-minded ex-jailbird? Was the head deacon crazy?

“Who signed the application?” one member asked. “Who has such colossal nerve?”

The head deacon eyed them all keenly before he answered.

“It’s signed, ‘the Apostle Paul.’”

So, the next time you’re tempted to complain about your pastor, be thankful that you don’t have Apostle Paul as your pastor instead!

Someone once said, “Pastoring a church combines all the features of crossing the Grand Canyon on a tightrope, lunching with Godzilla, and chasing a rainbow. A pastor needs the sprint of the Boy Who Stood on the Burning Deck, the intestinal fortitude of Hercules, and the courage of David meeting Goliath. Doing the most important job of the country, the pastor must tackle the tasks of Superman, and while doing it, he/she is considered a legitimate target for indiscriminate rock heaving.”

To state the situation a little more elegantly and scripturally: the pastor needs the power of the Spirit, the love of God, and the grace, wisdom, and patience of Christ, to carry on with his or her great work.

Great job, pastors! Keep up the good work… we couldn’t make it without you.

Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia.