October is Pastor’s Appreciation month. I have come across many pastors in my life that I am forever grateful to for the lessons they instilled in me, the character they exhibited through trials, and the encouragement they breathe continuously. Being in ministry a long time, and being a “PK” (pastor’s kid,) you see that ministry is, as Pastor Ed Young puts it, “brutiful” – it is both brutal and beautiful. I am grateful that the pastors in my life have lived through both and still live exemplifying that ministry is worth it, and that the beauty overwhelms all brutality.
“Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work.” 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13
Pastor Rob Helmer
My dad is the first pastor I ever knew….obviously. He taught me how to pray, to read the Bible in the middle of the night when you cannot sleep, to love people, to boldly share my faith with others, and that loving people is always worth it. It still amazes me that he would pause his schedule just to chat with two pilots from Hungary and lead them to Christ, or that he would look at an expensive mechanical issue with the ministry airplane as a Divine delay so he could witness to the mechanics. Evangelism was part of his heartbeat. For 14 years he was my physical example of Jesus and he did a great job.
Pastor Sandy Helmer My mom was just ordained last year, though she has been shepherding my heart for much longer than that. I love that I have seen her in action teaching, administrating, counseling, evangelizing, and so much more. She is a fierce example of faith through trial, and overcoming darkness with Christ’s victory. Love you, Mom!
Pastor Jeff Smith My senior pastor is phenomenal. And I do not say that just because he is my boss. I have known him since I was 10-years-old, and have a relationship with him that I cannot quite describe. Somewhat fatherly, somewhat brotherly, always encouraging and speaking truth in my life, Pastor Jeff has been a constant for me. The fact that he and his wife were my youth pastors and raised my husband and I up in ministry is a big deal. However, it is his character, hunger for souls, and genuine care for people that inspire my admiration. Despite having many experiences that could have been considered a “burn” or a brutal side of ministry, his heart is always sensitive to what God is doing in, through, and around him.
Pastor Amy Smith My other senior pastor is equally as amazing. She has mentored me through my teenage years into ministry as a young adult. She always has an encouraging word, always calls out the best in me, and when she is in a pulpit, she shines for Jesus as one of the most powerful and real people I know. She has a special place in my heart. She once was my babysitter who introduced me to hawaiian ginger body mist and sushi, and now she is a comrade and friend who still introduces me to the best stuff and people around!
Pastor Justin McNeil is the cutest pastor I know! My husband is a great pastor! He is full of energy and never shies away from using that to connect with youth and young adults wherever we are. He is a man of passion and compassion – which is something I prayed for as a teenager. He challenges me and calls me up to higher levels in my faith. I am blessed to be able to walk in ministry beside my best friend.
Pastor Gary Smith and Pastor Janis Smith are the founding pastors of my church and have mentored me throughout my youth as well. They are a beautiful example of faith, marriage, and restoration. They married my husband and I and they have made us feel like part of their natural family. I treasure them so much!
Pastor Linda Travelute always had the best illustrations in my high school chapel, and everything she shares about counseling inspires me.
Finally, I am grateful for all of my friends in ministry that I have met over the years. Thank you to Troy & Melody for your encouragement, Alex for your Sunday prayers, Carlos for inspiring us with your incredible talent (and humor!), Ben & Jessica for doing life with us, Rich & Dawnchere for sharing your heart for people, Luke & Francesca for sharing your passion for life and ministry, Chris for your comradery, Jarrod & Rhiannon for being creative geniuses, and Harrison Conley for the teaching at Vous that wrecked us.
I am grateful, and honor those who have poured their time, talent, heart, and vision into me. Would you join me and thank your pastor this month?