Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Clergy Appreciation Month

Pastors Tommy and Milo are presented appreciation notes and gift cards for "Clergy Appreciation Month" from Elvira, Mistress of the Dark
 
Milo and me were pleasantly surprised Sunday night at the Fall Festival by your kindness in recognizing us and showing us your appreciation of our ministry at Ridgeview Church. There is nothing like being in full-time Christian ministry working in a church like Ridgeview. We get to experience the highs of life with you (baptisms, weddings, births of new family members, graduation, service projects, mission trips). We get to experience the lows of life with you (funerals, marriage problems, school issues, health issues/hospital, loss of job). We've prayed for you, encouraged you, challenged you, and sought to help you experience the abundant life Christ has promised (John 10:10). At times, ministry can take a toll on Pastors. I read a survey a while back done by the Barna research group and Focus on the Family that relayed some sobering statistics:
 
  • Fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches.
  • Fifty percent of pastors' marriages will end in divorce.
  • Eighty percent of pastors and eighty-four percent of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastors.
  • Fifty percent of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.
  • Eighty percent of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years.
  • Seventy percent of pastors constantly fight depression
  • Almost forty percent polled said they have had an extra-marital affair since beginning their ministry.
  • Seventy percent said the only time they spend studying the Word is when they are preparing their sermons.
Those are sobering statistics! We are both grateful to be serving in a church like Ridgeview. This is an incredible church family! We both are giving God our best by serving alongside you. First Thessalonians 5:12-13 from the Message states, "And now, friends, we ask you to honor those leaders who work so hard for you, who have been given the responsibility of urging and guiding you along in your obedience. Overwhelm them with appreciation and love!" Your encouragement last Sunday night was most appreciated and means a lot to both of us. We'll continue to do our best with God's help to lead Ridgeview to maximize her potential to bring God the greatest glory!
 
Pastor Tommy