Serving as a pastor is a calling of the Holy Spirit, but it is not a calling that is any more important than any other calling people receive. As a pastor I am called to the ministry of Word and sacrament. I preach, lead worship, teach, visit the sick and I am the spiritual leader of this flock that God has called me to care for (among many other responsibilities). It’s a vocation that not everyone can do but that’s O.K. Scripture teaches us that people are given different gifts for the building up of the Church.
With that said, I want to highlight a group of ministers that too often go unnoticed and under appreciated (unless they do something “wrong”). These are the people that serve behind the scenes but also are the ones that can receive some of the harshest criticisms. And unjustly I might add.
~ serve in the kitchen; hosting host funerals and church potlucks.
~ get up extra early in the morning to make sure the sidewalks are clear of snow. ~ come in at night to vacuum and clean toilets.
~ type up the Sunday bulletin and monthly newsletter.
~ change a flickering florescent tube.
~ set up communion for worship.
And there is a whole host of other things these people do.
Sometimes the person sitting in the pew doesn’t know who these “people” are. All they know is that what needs to be done gets done…and it had better be done and done right. I can handle the criticism I receive because this congregation has called me and pays me to be their pastor. But the ones who serve behind the scenes often do so without pay and do so expecting nothing in return. So when these silent ministers receive criticism for “not serving well enough” it is often hurtful.
Instead of taking these people for granted, let’s say “Thank you”. If you don’t know who does one of those many things that just gets done, find out and thank that person. But know this ~ these people, working behind the scenes, are often people not looking for thanks but if they get it they will gratefully receive it with a smile and go about their ministry. They may be behind the scenes because they don’t like attention or because they are just doing what needs to be done because it needs to be done.
These under appreciated people need to be appreciated more because can you imagine if these people in your congregation didn’t do those behind the scenes jobs? Can you imagine if that someone didn’t shovel the sidewalk? Can you imagine that someone not cleaning the toilets? Can you imagine that someone not setting up for communion?
Those people you don’t see are also called to ministry. My calling is to preach, teach, lead worship, etc. But others are called to scoop snow, clean toilets and serve in the kitchen. Let’s seek these under appreciated people out and thank them for serving God the way they have been called.
The pastor -|—