An Overdue Thank You!

The following needs to be said. It is long overdue, and I apologize for that.

Thank you pastors.  

This has been a long weird season, and you have had to servant lead through it even though there really wasn’t a “Get Through the Pandemic” class.  It has felt like a grind as changes kept coming and you had to adapt and minister on the fly. I know you are tired. I know you have been frustrated at certain points, and you maybe even have felt like quitting every now and then, but you didn’t.  Thanks for hanging in.

I know you have had to learn a lot. That’s not all bad but you have been stretched and challenged like never before. I know you have had to guess and hope for the best when it came to planning. I know you have heard every theory and every argument regarding every aspect of this pandemic. Often it was loud and angry. I know folks have questioned you and your leadership and maybe even your faith, but you kept going.  Thanks for sticking it out.  

Your work has not gone unnoticed. Your care has been appreciated. Your leadership has been invaluable. The grace you have shown in the face of hearing every opinion vented and hearing how wrong you are has been needed and helpful. Thank you.

Thank you for doing your best to keep worship services going, prayer flowing,and disciple making at the front of our minds. Thank you for providing care, serving, adapting, keeping unity, and being about your Father’s business especially during a time unlike any you have ever seen or ministered in. Most of us don’t say it often enough, and we should. In fact, many of us complain a lot more than we thank. We are sorry for that. Thank you pastor. We love you.

If you are thinking too little too late, I understand, but I would remind you that even though we may not be good at saying it or maybe even showing it, there are a great number of people that have supported you. Countless folks have prayed for you and your family every day throughout this unprecedented time (you have to say unprecedented time while writing about the pandemic). I know many who defended you and your leadership when you were criticised. You just didn’t hear it. Folks showed up, watched, took part, gave and in many other ways did all they could to support the work of the church during this time. You did not do it all alone, even though it may have felt like it from time to time.  

I don’t remind you of all of that to guilt you. I actually hope it encourages you. Nothing feels worse than the feeling that you are all on your own, unappreciated, and unloved. I get that it feels like that, and we are all sorry. We do appreciate you pastor. We are doing our best to support you (we are tired and worn down too).  We love you. Thank you for sticking it out.  

For the rest of us. First, thank you if you are one of the people I described above (a prayer or a defender or a server that helps keep things running and so on).  Thank you for showing your support for your pastor and your church, but I need to remind us all that while showing our support matters, it is not all there is. All of us also need to hear appreciation from time to time. That helps us see it better too.

So here is the homework. Tell your pastor you appreciate them. Thank them. Let them know you are in their corner. Write it down or better yet, say it. Based on the health district regulations in your area, give them a hug or at least an IOU for one. They need it. They need to hear it. We need to say it. By the way, if they aren’t huggers (and some are not) invent a cool handshake or something.  

Thank you pastors.  We appreciate all you do and the way in which you do it.      

Marc McAlister

Director of Leadership Development and Church Health

Free Methodist Church in Canada