Thursday, May 7, 2009

"Thank You" to Servants

Pastors and deacons, with their spouses, are often overlooked when appreciation is being expressed. Perhaps it is assumed that in serving, they are only doing what is expected of their office. I am convinced that we should avail ourselves of every opportunity to express gratitude for the faithful ministry of these congregational servants.

Ernie McCoulsky
, Director of Kauf-Van Baptist Association, east of Dallas knows the stress under which church leaders often serve. The association in which he ministers hosts an annual banquet to honor pastors, deacons and their spouses. I was privileged to speak as more than 300 of these servants gathered Monday night in Terrell, Texas.

Their geographical area is special to me. My father and mother were born and raised in the East Texas area now served by Kauf-Van Association. Although much of the area is experiencing transition due to the urban sprawl of the DFW metroplex, I remember the unique cultural experience of growing up in rural east Texas. So while I reminded pastors, deacons and their spouses that they are special people with a special purpose (using references from the epistle of Peter) I also shared remembrances from my formative years.

It was humorous to reflect on unique things like telephone party lines, television service limited to one channel that operated only part of the day, pulling in to a service station an asking for a “dollar’s worth of regular” (which while being pumped allowed enough time for the attendant to check the oil and clean the windshield), listening to the “swap-shop” on the radio (where people obtained things they wanted or needed from others who were looking to rid themselves of the same items). It was a time when the world was dramatically different.

While the world has changed, the caring ministry of pastors, deacons and their spouses remains the same. It is still about lives investing in the lives of others to the glory of God. It is being part of a caring community doing life together in the Spirit of the greatest Servant. That is not an easy role, but it is a blessed one.

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