It’s Pastor (Clergy) Appreciation Week! At CrossPoint, our heart beats for pastors and ministry leaders, so let us have the mic for a minute.
Here is one of my many thoughts on the matter:
Recently, I have been describing my passion in life and ministry by saying: “I want to help pastors and ministry leaders have the courage to believe their own claims.” The reality is that clergy-folk spend a lot of energy talking about God and helping others see God, all while their own capacity for relating with God and others becomes diminished.
Usually, this doesn’t happen intentionally nor does it happen quickly. And more often than not, it goes unattended. I have spent all of my life around/in church ministry and this I know…pastors and ministers tend to get NOTICED, but rarely do they get ATTENTION. Stay with me now…the word “attention” has taken on a new meaning for me lately. In his book, Needs of the Heart, Chip Dodd writes:
“Attention means to be recognized, tended to, cared for, and even nurtured, so that we can re-experience the encouragement that comes from knowing we belong and matter. Most literally, attention means that the person in need is heeded, a word rarely used, yet it fits so well. Heeding someone’s needs means close, concentrated, considerate focus upon that person. One who is in need of tending truly needs to be heeded.”
Pastors and ministers “truly need to be heeded.”
Here is the deal: the more you tend to others, the more you need tending. When your “attention” bucket is continually being poured out, simply being “noticed” will not serve as a refill. Attention can only replace attention.
So my question: Are you simply noticing your pastor or are you paying attention to your pastor? Are you simply noticing your church leaders or are you paying attention to your church leaders?
Being noticed can reinforce our sense of mattering, but ATTENTION is what we need to incite in us the “courage to believe our own claims.” ATTENTION fuels COURAGE. Attention, as defined here, encourages us to personally experience the hope and healing of the Gospel. Attention creates the safety to be honest about what we need and gives us permission to be human and ask for help. Attention helps pastors and ministers avoid the dangers of religious “heroism” (“I can meet everyone’s needs”) or martyrdom (“I have no needs”).
Take a moment now to scheme creatively about how you can show attention to the pastors and ministry leaders in your world. Your attention will fuel their courage.