Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Pastor's Appreciation

Last Sunday, after the 10:30 worship experience, a few third graders gave me a basket. The basket contained some of my favorite things: York Peppermint Patties, Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups, and a bag of jalapeño potato chips. A few days later, the basket is empty. I fought the boys for the chocolate and our dog for the chips. Strange, but true.

Also included in the basket were a bunch of cards created and written by our third graders. They were whimsical, thoughtful, and kind. It took a while, but I read though every single one of them. I laughed, smiled, and maybe even cried a little. I always appreciate and am grateful for any cards or gifts during Pastor Appreciation Month—but this one stands out. Lots of people put a lot of effort into it. Thanks to the leaders of the Third Grade Bible Mentoring Program, the mentors, and all the students.

The month is a little awkward for me. I have always considered myself blessed to be a pastor and I appreciate people. Never has this been more true than my time at The Water’s Edge. A church may exist with better, more loving, more generous, funner, and more committed people—I just haven’t come across it and don’t expect I ever will.

I’m grateful to be invited to be part of your lives. You invite me to your hospital room to bless your babies. You invite me to your house for graduations. You let me stand two feet in front of you and perform your weddings. You trust me with your story and invite me to share mine.

I’m grateful you love my family like they are your own. You know I am a dad and don’t expect me do everything all the time. You let me know it’s a good thing to coach soccer and pick the kids up from school. You don’t expect my wife to be a full-time volunteer staff person, but just want her to be who God created her to be. 

I’m grateful you all pay my salary and are generous with that. I know many who sacrifice to see The Water’s Edge prevail. I thank God daily for you providing for my family.

I’m grateful you love our church. I don’t have to spend much time resolving conflict because you all love each other. I don’t ever have to beg for volunteers because you step up. I rarely have to say “no” to a good idea or a God idea because you embrace stewardship.

I’m grateful for your grace. You don’t expect perfection. But you love me enough to expect growth. You have people present and systems in place to make this possible for me.

I’m grateful you are my family. Children of God. Brothers and sisters to Jesus Christ. Men, women, and children who gather at The Water’s Edge to hear the teachings of Jesus. People who go into our various worlds to live out those sacred, life-changing, life-giving, challenging, comforting, holy teachings.

I appreciate you.


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