"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."
This pandemic has made it difficult for Christians to attend church and to gather with fellow believers. In such a crisis it's easy for us to feel disconnected and frustrated by the disruptions we have experienced. For example. many of us have had to switch from in-person church services to online viewership. For most of us, it's not been an enjoyable transition.
Imagine how much more difficult it has been for our church leaders and staff. For many churches, attendance is down significantly and personnel cuts are looming (Lifeway Research 2020.) Add to this the fact that congregations are often divided over how to respond to the virus. Some members are demanding that their pastors require every person at church to wear a mask and stay physically distanced, while other members insist that their pastors give them the option to wear a mask or not. Some of these latter members also want their church leaders to oppose state restrictions, as they believe the danger of COVID-19 is highly exaggerated. It goes without saying that many church leaders are feeling financial and social stresses that are personally taxing.
In such a context, let's not forget Paul's encouragement in 1 Thessalonians 5:12. So today, consider how you can honor your spiritual leaders. Honoring them can be done in a myriad of ways. You could take a moment to say a prayer for them and their families. You could write a quick and friendly email to thank them for their service. You could send them a gift card or, if it is a safe and viable option, take them out for a meal. Paul doesn't say how to honor our leaders in the the Lord's work, so you have options. Decide what you feel called to do and then take action and be an encourager.