By Dr. Mark Creech
Lyn Cryderman, associate publisher for Zondervan Publishing House, says that at one of the Promise Keepers’ rallies, Bill McCartney invited all the pastors in the arena to join him at the front of the podium. “In a scene reminiscent of a Billy Graham crusade,”  Cryderman said the ministers went forward, but what happened next was a complete surprise. “Beginning first with enthusiastic applause, soon everyone was on his feet, stomping and cheering in support of the pastors who stood somewhat embarrassed, yet clearly moved by the spontaneous outpouring.” 
There is no position in life more worthy of honor than that of a minister. Pastors live under incredible pressures and make huge sacrifices for the parishes and communities they serve. Various reports show that pastors can work from up to 60 and 75 hours a week. Shirley Dobson, wife of the beloved Dr. James Dobson, formerly of Focus on the Family, once noted: “Our pastors are on the front lines in the effort to defend our faith and our families. We must hold them before the Lord in prayer … I have a very tender heart for pastors, because they’ve been there for all of us when we have been in times of crisis –when we’ve been in times of suffering … we owe these pastors a debt of gratitude that we’ll never be able to pay.” 
When the apostle Paul gave young Timothy instructions for church order, he admonished by commanding: “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine” (I Tim. 5:17). It’s interesting to note that the Bible mentions several groups to whom honor is due, but only one is to receive double honor — those who have been designated by God to teach and lead the church.
You would think everyone understands the importance of respect for pastors. There was a time when their work was highly esteemed. But a recent survey by Pew on the societal contributions of various professions reports that “…just 37% of Americans surveyed think the clergy make a big contribution to society.” Pew went on to say, “Regular churchgoers tend to be more positive about ministers, priests and other clergy members. But even among adults who say they attend religious services at least once a week, only about half (52%) rate clergy in general as contributing ‘a lot’ to society, while 29% say the clergy make ‘some’ contribution, and 11% say the clergy contribute ‘not very much’ or ‘nothing at all.’” 
Granted, there are times when clergy fail miserably. Some deliberately disobey the precepts of Scripture and bring open shame and public reproach on the cause of Christ. Nevertheless, even when this is the case, it should be remembered the position of clergy is to be treated with the utmost respect. When problems occur, they should be dealt with compassionately, quietly and privately if possible, in loving concern for the minister himself and the work of the Lord.
Once I heard Dr. M.A. Thomas, missionary to India, preach on Romans 10:14-15. He brought out an aspect of the text I had never considered. The passage reads: “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they be sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!'” In his sermon, Thomas said that for most people, feet are considered unattractive and unappealing. But from God’s perspective, even the feet of those who proclaim the gospel are beautiful. “Does that tell you anything about the high regard God has for those who are sent by Him as pastors, missionaries, and evangelists?” Thomas asked.
October is Clergy Appreciation Month and the perfect opportunity to recognize, pray for and encourage your pastor. But maybe you feel your pastor isn’t doing the job and the church is suffering. Maybe you feel your pastor should resign and leave the church. You respect the pastor and you wouldn’t want to do any harm, but you struggle with showing appreciation for his ministry. How do you handle something like that?
Perhaps the following article found in a church bulletin can help. It’s titled, “How To Get Rid of a Pastor.” It instructs you should first look your pastor straight in the eye while he’s preaching and say “Amen!” once and a while, and he’ll probably preach himself to death. Second, you should try patting him on the back and bragging on his good points, which will probably result in his working himself to death. Third, rededicate your life to Christ and ask the preacher for some job, preferably some lost person you could win to Christ, and he’ll likely die of heart failure. Fourth, get the church to unite in prayer for the pastor and he’ll soon become so effective that some larger church will come and take him off your hands.”
You may not feel like stomping and cheering in support of your pastor. It may be you don’t realize how spiritually strategic his work is to your life, the church and the community. Maybe you are unrealistically expecting him to be something other than human. Whatever the case, his position is worthy of “double honor.” It should be reverenced because it is a high calling of God. And it should be esteemed because to honor God’s man is to honor Him!
This article is a revision of an article previously written by Dr. Creech in 2004 and was first posted by Agape Press, which has now become One News Now.
 Cryderman, Lyn. “Can the Sheep Save Their Shepherds.” http://www.injesus.com/messages/content/206067
 Creech, Mark H. “Honor Your Pastor During Clergy Appreciation Month.” WTLN.com http://www.wtln.com/1290642/print/; Pritcherd, Shirley. “Extra Appreciation Shown to Pastors.” The Frederick News Post, Oct. 17, 2009 http://m.fredericknewspost.com/archive/article_bb9ee2d2-6525-57b4-a4d8-103c2f401642.html?mode=jqm
 “Respect for Clergy Lower Then Military, Higher Than Lawyers.” Leadership Journal. Christianity Today. July 22, 2013 http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/trendwatch/2013/07-22/respect-for-clergy-lower-than-military-higher-than-lawyers.html