October is Pastor Appreciation Month – a time for church folks to let their staff and pastors know how much they’re appreciated. I’m grateful for this time and thank all those who express their appreciation to all the pastors out there. Believe me, we are incredibly grateful.
But do you know what pastors want more than cards, cash, gifts, letters, and words of appreciation? They want you to be faithful. That’s right, the best gift a pastor can ever receive is a faithful church member and believer.
If that’s what a pastor loves to see, I guess it’s important to answer the question, what does it mean to be a faithful believer? Of course, this list covers members and pastors alike. Here are five characteristics of a faithful believer.
1. In the Word. A faithful believer will be faithfully in the Word. This is where it begins. Sometimes I wonder how many people who are at church on any given Sunday are actually reading their Bible throughout the week. You can’t grow without it. The Bible helps shape our worldview and our “churchview.” It shapes the way we see the world around us and the way we view the church and the pastor. The Word is essential.
2. In prayer. Someone once said, “Prayer is the breath of the Christian life.” I would also add, it is the strength of the church. God moves and works through prayer – individually through believers and collectively through the church. One of the best things you can give your pastor is to pray for him daily.
3. In the Spirit. The Bible says that we should not walk “according to the flesh” but we should be “filled with the Spirit.” Most of the problems we encounter in the church occur because believers are not walking in the Spirit. Instead, they focus on pleasing their own selfish desires. When you are “in the Spirit” you’re not interested in having your needs met or your desires fulfilled. You simply want God to be glorified.
4. In the church. Now this should go without saying, but these days, it has to be said. Faithful believers will be faithful to church. I understand that you’re going to go on vacation. I expect you to travel from time to time. I know that you’ll come down with a bug occasionally that will keep you away. But the general trajectory of your life should be one of faithfulness and consistency. The author of Hebrews encourages us not to forsake the “assembling of ourselves together.” In other words, a faithful believer will be in the church.
5. In the world. Jesus says that we are to be “in the world, but not of the world.” Ever wondered what that means? It gives a good response to two extremes. Some Christians flee from the world and isolate themselves. That’s not the answer. Other Christians run into the world and act just like them. That’s not the answer either. You should not be “of the world” – compromising biblical values, unholy living, worldly behavior. But you should be “in the world” – engaging culture, reaching out to others, sharing the gospel, making a difference.
So, if you really want to know what your pastors wants this October (and every month), here it is – a pastor just wants believers to be faithful. In the Word, in prayer, in the Spirit, in the church, and in the world. You’d be amazed at what a difference that would make!