Pastor Appreciation Month: Part One

Is Pastor Appreciation Month a real thing?

Yes. Now I know there are a lot of really random and meaningless “days” and “months”. Recently it was National Coffee Day. I heard there’s a bacon day (finally something I can get behind). But October, at some point was dubbed Pastor Appreciation Month.  I know, I know, my calling attention to this may seem a bit self serving, but hear me out. This post is not about me. 

 There are pastors all around the world who aren't on staff. They are not in front. They are bi-vocational, in the background, fighting in prayer for the lost, laboring in care for the church, holding up the arms of lead pastors and staff pastors. They live, setting an example to the church, equipping them for the works of ministry. Churches don't survive without them. Their lives are full and hard. And they often labor for years without being properly honored for their sacrifice. 

There are three such men that I want to honor. Men whose lives and friendships have been absolutely key in God’s plan for me in the last 9 years. Pastors who have shepherded me, and who have sacrificed so much of their lives for the Love of God and the good of his church. I will post them over the coming days and weeks in the order in which I met them. 

David J. Ainsworth

First up, Dave Ainsworth. I met Dave and Maggie Ainsworth in my first semester at seminary. God arranged for us to live in the same apartment complex, go the the same school and join the same church. He was very obviously smarter than me, and (because he's not a morning person, and we carpooled in the morning to school) I assumed he was always a little grumpy. All that to say, we weren't immediately friends. Over the following months and years, we joined the same small group, Then, we launched a small group together, through which Dave and Maggie poured into Joy and I to send us to start our own small group. They were (and are) friends that we desperately needed. In them, God cared for us, trained us and encouraged us. And when we began working toward planting a church in Pearland, Texas, Dave quit school. He left the comfortable and familiar world of academia and gave his life to begin pastoring a church that didn’t yet exist alongside me. We worked for nearly 5 years together in planting Covenant Community Church and his voice is now permanently in my head. 

His gift to hear and deliver wisdom to others, his discernment into the motives of my heart have been prophetic. By that, I mean, that very often, God used this brother to speak directly to me the words I needed to hear. 

As my pastor, he loved my family, played with my kids, and cleaned up my mess. He asked the questions I would have skipped, and thought of the people I may have forgotten. He made me a better pastor. By the grace of God, he made me a better man. 

Let it also be known: Dave and Maggie throw the best parties and they dance a mean electric slide.

I would be remiss if I didn’t point out directly how much of his usefulness in God’s kingdom has been buttressed by the love and support of his wife. Being a pastor’s wife is a strange job indeed, but God has shone his glory through his daughter for the good of Dave, his son. The lives they have blessed by their friendship and care is a long list. 

The San Francisco Project

He and Maggie are now planting a new church in San Francisco. They are on a new leg of the epic journey toward glory and they need you. Write to them. Comment on this post. Hit up their Facebook. But most of all, pray for them. The road is long and hard. Pray that God would sustain them. Pray that God would use him mightily for his kingdom. Pray that they would find rest and comfort in his care. Thankfully, even pastors have a Pastor; the great shepherd who lays his life down for the sheep. 

I have been loved and pastored well by this man. Covenant Community Church bears the marks of his care. I appreciate him and his family more than I can say, and I’d invite you all to do the same. It is October after all.