Sunday is Pastor Appreciation Day, and October is Pastor Appreciation Month. We should indeed appreciate our pastors and express that appreciation to them. They are working night and day to bring us to eternal life.
The pastoral office is under quite a bit of stress and strain these days. Some of it comes from unfaithful pastors who tarnish their holy calling with scandals, heresies, and abuse. And, as Milton complained in Lycidas, an elegy about the death of a young man studying for the ministry who would have made a good pastor, there are shepherds more concerned with sheering their sheep than nourishing them, so that “The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed.” But good shepherds are also assailed by wolves from the outside, and, even worse, by rebellious sheep. To move out of the extended metaphor, many congregations treat their pastors appallingly.
But, according to the doctrine of vocation, God Himself has called your pastor, and He Himself works through him to bestow His blessings upon you. God proclaims His Word through the voice of human pastors. Christ Himself baptizes and gives us His body and blood by means of your pastor, whom He has called to this ministry through your congregation. And though your pastor is as human as you, with similar sins and shortcomings, God still works through him by virtue of his office. So that, “as a called and ordained servant of the Word,” he can “announce the grace of God unto all of you,” and “in the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ,” he brings us Christ’s forgiveness (Lutheran Service Book).
Not too long ago, I wrote a post entitled A Book Every Pastor Should Read, about my friend the Rev. Harold Senkbeil’s The Care of Souls. That book gives pastors practical advice on how to care for the souls entrusted to them and also encourages them as they live out their lives in the ups and downs of their vocation. In my review I made a statement that is good advice for Pastor Appreciation Month: If you are a pastor, you should buy this book. If you are not a pastor, you should buy it for your pastor.
It turns out, you can get it for free. I am grateful to Rev. Andrew Hussman, a WELS pastor from Rapid City, SD, who reminded me of Pastor Appreciation Month and also alerted me to this offer. I’ll let him explain it:
Since October is Pastor Appreciation Month, Logos Bible Software provides a $20 gift to pastors (the code at checkout is: PAM20). It’s easy and free to set up a Logos account (the cost comes in adding books and other advanced features). The reason I share this with you is that, as part of Pastor Appreciation month, Logos also currently has a sale on Harold Senkbeil’s new book, Care of Souls, for $11.99 (https://www.logos.com/product/169227/the-care-of-souls-cultivating-a-pastors-heart). I believe you blogged about this book a while back. So essentially, any pastor can get this book for free and still have money to spare on the $20 gift.
Furthermore, Lexham Press (which has some connection to Logos and Faithlife that I’m unclear on) offers a short little book by Harold Senkbeil and Lucas Woodford entitled Church Leadership and Strategy: For the Care of Souls (https://lexhampress.com/product/175813/church-leadership-and-strategy-for-the-care-of-souls). Pastors can also get this book for free with the code THANKYOUPASTOR at checkout.
I will repeat that code for my pastor, my former pastors, and to all of you readers who are pastors: THANKYOUPASTOR.