Someone designated the month of October as “Pastor Encouragement Month.” I suppose it is the evangelical equivalent of a Hallmark Holiday. As a result, I’ve received a number of cards and notes thanking me for my ministry. I am grateful for each and every one. They encourage me to keep pressing forward.
However, I’ve also received a fair amount of criticism during the past month for various things including my personality, actions—both done and not done, preaching, and ministry philosophy. The most recent was an anonymous note that came in today’s mail telling me I needed to read an article entitled, “Epidemic: On The Creeping Hollow Within a Pastor’s Soul.” Since the individual only gave me the title, I had to google it to discover it was a blog post about burnout. I don’t know if it came from someone within my church or from a random person. I don’t know if the individual was genuinely concerned about me or whether they were taking a veiled shot.
If you want to encourage your pastor, send a card, note, or email, and be sure and sign your name. Don’t send anonymous notes! They are discouraging. If I have a hollow in my soul (and I don’t think I do and I don’t think I’m burned out), anonymous notes only serve to widen and deepen the hole rather than heal it.
All of this reminds me that I am in a spiritual battle and the enemy doesn’t want me to succeed. It’s probably not coincidental that our elders’ & wives’ Bible study tonight is on how to ensure that our church leaders are staying healthy. Ironically, the book we’re reading is written by the author of the blog post, Carey Nieuwhof.