I am designating the month of October as Pastor Appreciation Month, during which I encourage all congregations to show appreciation and to pray for their clergy. It is not easy to lead a church. Consider these startling facts:

• 97% of pastors have been betrayed, falsely accused, or hurt by their trusted friends in church;

• 70% of pastors battle depression;

• 80% of pastors are discouraged;

• 78% of pastors have no close friends;

• 94% of pastors’ families feel the pressure of the ministry;

• 90% of pastors report working 55 to 75 hours per week;

• 1,500 pastors quit each month;

• Only 10% of pastors retire as pastors; and

• Approximately 7,000 churches close each year.

Leading a church is rewarding, but it can also be very stressful and discouraging. So, I expect our congregations to listen to their clergy, pray for them, care for their families, and show appreciation and support for them! Our diocesan congregations and clergy need each other!
I also expect our clergy to pray for their congregations, leading with gentleness, honesty, humility, and gospel-focus. It is also important that you strongly encourage your respective parishes to fulfill their obligations to the Bishop and Diocese by following the Bishop’s directives and all Diocesan Policies, as well as giving financially – 10% of monthly parish income – to the Diocese for our ministry and mission.