Whenever I think of leaders like you, who shepherd the flocks in local churches, I’m reminded of Paul’s words to the church at Philippi:
“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” —Philippians 1:3–6, NKJV
Those words from Paul, written nearly two millennia ago, perfectly sum up my feelings. I’m incredibly thankful for you, your ministry, your faithfulness, your sacrifice, and your “fellowship in the Gospel” as we co-labor for the kingdom of Christ.
As we honor you this Pastor Appreciation Month, I want to challenge and encourage you to hold tightly to the Word of God, and preach it like the souls of your congregation hang in the balance.
The Bible alone has the answers for all of the struggles we face today, both in our culture and in our personal lives. It provides the truth that counters the relativistic morality of our modern age. “The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12, ESV). It is “a lamp to [our] feet and a light to [our] path” (Psalm 119:105, ESV).
>>Need prayer? Call our 24/7 Billy Graham Prayer Line at 888-388-2683.
Each and every day, the people in your congregation are hearing a never-ending stream of messages from the world—whether from the TV shows they watch, the websites they view, the social media streams they scroll, or the persuasive arguments they hear at work or school. However, what they really need—indeed, what their souls long for—is the truth of Scripture; that anchor to the eternal through the Word of God.
In addition to preaching the Bible, I encourage you to not forsake your own spiritual development. Though you are a pastor, and you’re always thinking about your next sermon, you also need that quiet time to simply rest in the Scripture, feeding your spirit and hearing from your Heavenly Father. If you truly love God’s Word, your passion will flow and feed into your congregation, giving them the encouragement they need to immerse themselves into the Bible as well.
>>Refresh your soul and find fresh inspiration for your ministry at an upcoming Pastor Renewal Retreat at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Events will be held in March and April, with details to come.
Remember, my friend, God could have chosen anyone to fill that pulpit in which you stand, but He called you. Never take that calling lightly. In the battle over the souls of your congregation and your community, you’ve been placed on the frontline. But you aren’t there alone. You’ve been given the Holy Spirit, and you’ve been equipped with the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17b, ESV).
Please know that you are loved and appreciated. May God richly bless you, your family, and your ministry, as you labor for the kingdom of Christ.