Pastor Appreciation Resources and Poetry from the Pen of the Pastor-Poet

At our church staff meeting the other day, the director of children's ministry lamented how many volunteers were still needed for fall programs. His voice wasn't the only one crying in the wilderness of congregational recruitment. The youth pastor chimed in. So did the coordinator of worship ministries. I left the meeting contemplating the problem and determined to find a creative way to address it.

The following poem is going to be used in our church as a way of subtly calling attention to misplaced priorities in over-committed lives. Too many of our families involve their children (and themselves) in commitments that lack spiritual payoff. Why not consider running this poem off on posters made to look like the "WANTED" signs in the old west. If you post these around the church be sure to tack up another sheet near the WANTED POSTER listing the current needs and openings in your church programs.

WANTED!

I saw a wanted poster
at the church the other day.
It left me with a feeling
that just wouldn't go away.
It listed opportunities
for tithing of my time.
Like helping toddlers learn to pray
through finger plays and rhymes.
Like mentoring some teenagers
or opening my home
or taking widows out to eat
so they won't dine alone.
Like teaching in the Sunday school
or singing in the choir,
or going on a missions trip
with hammers, nails and pliers.
The poster made me contemplate
the ways I fill my week.
It caused me to review in prayer
the schedule I keep.
Like driving kids to soccer,
then to swim team or ballet,
to ballgames every weekend
and practice everyday.
By working with the PTA
and helping at the club,
I have no time to serve at church
and that's well the rub.
Although I am quite busy now,
I really must confess.
I'm not convinced that what I do
is what God wants to bless.
I kind of think He wants me
to reduce my frantic pace,
so I can volunteer at church
and be a means of grace.

Copyright 2003 by Greg Asimakoupoulos, Napierville, IL (USA).
Used by permission.

Another pastoral poem by Greg Asimakoupoulos: "A Tribute to America's Pastors" Greg Asimakoupoulos/The Partial Observer

A Prayer for Our Pastor

Almighty God, lest the man we call "pastor" stumble beneath the weight of our unrealistic expectations, would You ease the burden he daily shoulders on behalf of our entire congregation?

That he might lead us with confidence, won't You gift him with wisdom that only comes from You?

That he might serve us with humility won't You lift him on the wings of prayer into Your very presence?

That he might remain a man of integrity won't You sift his motives so that what is pure would rise above what isn't?

That he might pursue Your plan instead of his hunches, make him willing to shift his direction when a change in course is necessary.

As he closes his eyes in prayer each day, please open his heart to what You'd say and fill him with the strength he needs to follow where You lead. Amen.

by Rev. Greg Asimakoupoulos

With Praise for Your Pastor

Your pastor is a friend of God
(of course that's nothing new.)
But did you know how very much
your pastor cares for you?

Your pastor often contemplates
the ways you bless his life,
how you affirm his children,
how much you love his wife.

You make his job less stressful
as you follow where he leads
through the pasture of his preaching
(where there's rarely any weeds).

Your pastor needs your friendship,
your patience and your prayers -
for no one knows a shepherd's plight,
his heartache and his cares.

God bless you as you try to show
in varied sundry ways
how much he means on Sundays

and all the other days.

Copyright 2003 by Greg Asimakoupoulos, Napierville, IL (USA).
Used by permission.

----------------------

An Unsung Heroine

It's good we sing his praises.
Our pastor's really great.
But songs that voice our gratitude
should celebrate his mate.

She often goes unnoticed.
She serves behind the scenes
or quietly attends to those
who've lost sight of their dreams.

She spends most nights without him
while he's out making calls.
And in his stead she cares for kids
by playing trucks and dolls.

She comforts our dear pastor
when he's prone to despair.
When he's sick in bed with fever,
it's she who gives him care.

When our shepherd's judged unfairly,
his wife is whom he needs.
She reminds him of his calling
as his heart breaks and bleeds.

She deserves some recognition.

Perhaps a little fame.
Please don't call her "Mrs. Pastor."

This person has a name.

Copyright 2004 by Greg Asimakoupoulos.

----------------

A Shepherd's Tribute

Your pastor's called to guard God's flock
so you won't go astray.
That's why he spends the time it takes
to study, preach and pray.

He clears a path so you can keep
in step with where he leads.
He's mindful of your nourishment.
He lifts you when you bleed.

Your shepherd also seeks the lost
in search of lambs God loves.
He knows the fold is big enough
for those born from above.

He has a staff on which to lean.
Your shepherd knows it's wise
to share the load of leading you
toward a heavenly prize.

Still, pastors' Christ-like servanthood
so often goes unsung.
So why not share how much yours means
with paper, pen and tongue?

Copyright 2003 by Greg Asimakoupoulos, Napierville, IL (USA).
Used by permission.

Additional poetry/articles by the Pastor-Poet
Remembance and Reflection - 9-11 . . . Articles

The Shepherd's Staff

Because there's more than one can do,
most shepherds need a staff
to lean on when they need advice
and when they need to laugh.

The staff supports the one who guides
the way the flock should go.
They give their best behind the scenes
when few (if any) know.

The staff can nudge the wayward back
or reach to free the trapped.
So many times it is the staff

who give funds to the strapped.

The staff is held responsible
for filling cracks and holes.
They help their shepherds lead the flock
by implementing goals.

So in this month of saying thanks
to those who are ordained,
be sure to honor all of those
who serve in Jesus' Name.

Copyright 2003 by Greg Asimakoupoulos, Napierville, IL (USA).
Used by permission.

See My Big Fat Greek Heritage and The Writings of Rev. Greg Asimakoupoulos for more!

___________________

A Man for All Seasons

A pastor's work is never done.
There're sermons to prepare.
There are calls to make
and folks to see in dire need of care.

He spends time with the leadership
to shape the church's goals.
But he is just as comfortable
with ex-cons on parole.

He's at the bedside of the sick.
He's at his daughter's game.
He eulogizes those who've died.
He knows his flock by name.
v He comforts widows in their grief.
He counsels single dads.
He hangs with kids to understand
their pressures, dreams and fads.

He mentors men who've lost their jobs.
He marries grooms and brides.
For those confused who need to talk,
in him they can confide.

He calms the staff when they are stressed.
He prays at Rotary.
He seeks out those he knows are new
in his community.

And yet in spite of all he does,
you won't hear him complain.
He's energized by all the ways
he serves in Jesus' Name.

Copyright 2004 by Greg Asimakoupoulos

---------------------------------

Memories of My First Pastor

When I contemplate the people God has used to touch my life,
I'm reminded of a gray-haired man and his sweet quiet wife.

Each Sunday he would stand to pray and then begin to preach.
And though he wasn't eloquent, I loved his halting speech.

He opened up the Bible as he made those stories live.
I still can smell the loaves and fish that boy was prone to give.

He'd shake hands with the grown-ups after church when they would go.
And he would call us kids by name and say "You're great, you know!"

Some nights he'd show up at our house for coffee and to talk.
Or sometimes he would phone to share a need within the flock.

Though not a theologian with a long list of degrees,
my pastor grew in wisdom as he spent time on his knees.

He could comfort folks at funerals and at weddings he would cry.
When he counseled those in trouble, he would listen, nod and sigh.

I learned from that dear man of God that faith is clearly caught
when those who see the truth lived out can trust what they are taught.

As I look back my heart is filled with gratitude and joy
for one who led our little church when I was just a boy.

That godly man and his dear wife have long since passed away.
But since they led me to the Lord, I'll see them both some day.

Copyright 2004 by Greg Asimakoupoulos

-----------------------

October is Pastor Appreciation Month. Take time today to pray for your pastor(s)! The language of the prayer is masculine but the spirit is gender-inclusive of all pastors.

"Some churches prey on their pastor. Instead pray for your pastor."

"Father, let me be a pillar of strength to help hold up our pastor and not a thorn in his flesh to sap his strength, or be a burden on his back to weigh him down.

Let me support him without striving to possess him.

Let me lift his hands without placing shackles around them.

Let me give him any help that he may devote more time to working for the salvation of others and less time to gratifying my vanity, or struggling with my indifference or repeated neglects.

Let me work for him as the pastor of all the members and not compel him to spend precious time in pleasing me.

Let me be unselfish in what I do for him and in what I ask him to do for me.

And finally, let me strive to happily serve the church more as he serves me less and others more."

--Selected from God@Work newsletter, a ministry of St Mark's United Methodist Church, 8550 Pioneers Blvd., Lincoln Nebraska 68520 U.S.A.

To Subscribe, send email to godatwork-subscribe@egroups.com

Sites for the Pastor's Wife!

Mentoring Woman to Woman with Lyla Ledner

The Preacher's Wife new

Christian Creations--resources/products for pastor's wives/women in ministry
First Ladies--from House2House Ministries
LovenGodLovenPastorsWives
Pastor's Wife.com
Pastoring Partners--Welcome Home!
For women pastors and pastor's wives,
partnering with their husbands in ministry!

Featuring sites of Georgia Sawhook, a pastor's wife and my good friend!
Pastor's Appreciation Month - make it every month!
Thriving in the Fishbowl . . . Pastors Wives Site

+ + + + + + +

"8 Ways to Encourage Your Pastor"

ChristianityTodayOnline: Pastor Appreciation--with resources for congregations & pastors

Honor and Encouragement for God's Servants

The Call--from Carol Jackson Ministries

The Church--from Barbara's Entourage

Church Leadership (Dealing with God's People Who Drive You Crazy!)

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