By Faye Gaston

There are over 80 churches in Bullock County, but some Pastors preach at more than one church. Since 1992, October is "Pastor Appreciation Month," and the second Sunday in October is "Pastor Appreciation Day."

Being a pastor is more than a job; it is a "calling." Pastors are the shepherds of the church, guiding the church under the authority of the Bible.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, these past months have been stressful. Congregations did not meet in-person or met digitally or outside in cars. It is more challenging than ever to be a pastor. Polls show that 20% of all churches could close forever because of the results of COVID-19.

Some pastors are underpaid, overextended, and have no regular working hours but are on-call 24 hours a day.

October is the month for congregations to express gratitude for the pastor's dedicated life to ministry. It is the month to refresh and energize pastors to continue to do good work.

A group could offer appreciation. Pooling resources will provide a higher quality gift.

A group could give gift cards for the pastor and family for a meal at a restaurant, a weekend away, or tickets to a sporting event.

The church could provide a bonus check or pay for a thorough detailing/cleaning of the family car. Books by well-known Christian authors to help in the pastor's study of the Bible could be gifted.

Church members could list the "top ten" things they like about the pastor or film a video telling favorite memories with the pastor. Texts could be sent to the pastor every day, telling appreciation for the pastor.

Children in the church could write messages, tie them with a ribbon and present them to the pastor.

On Pastor Appreciation Day, the church could pay for a substitute speaker so the pastor can experience a regular worship service as part of the congregation.

During this service, special prayer could be offered for the pastor. Hand-written letters of appreciation could be presented on that special day.

October is the month where congregations are challenged to honor and encourage their pastors in Bullock County's 80 churches.

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