50 Reasons We Appreciate Our Pastors

Grateful for Our Spiritual Leaders

October is Pastor Appreciation Month—a season in which we are reminded to be grateful for the spiritual leaders that God has set over our lives.

A couple weeks ago, we invited our readers to enter to win a free resource library for their pastors. To enter the drawing, we asked respondents to finish the following sentence: “In the last year, I have appreciated my pastor because he . . .”

In total, we received nearly 900 responses detailing the many reasons people appreciate, love, and respect their spiritual leaders. We were so encouraged by what we read that we wanted to share 50 of our favorite responses below.

“In the last year, I have appreciated my pastor because he . . .”

“. . . faithfully preaches through the Scriptures, verse by verse, not skipping over hard texts, but working through them.”

—Jaclyn, Benson, NC

“. . . has continually demonstrated a shepherd’s heart, full of grace and a zeal for the gospel. He feeds the sheep well, excels in administration, and has been a great mentor to me (an associate pastor on staff), encouraging and enabling me to pursue my MDiv online.”

—Matt, Elmira, NY

“. . . has a heart for discipleship and leadership training. Every Tuesday, he meets with me and other men in our congregation to pray with us, encourage us, and work through a Bible study with us, in order to train us to do so with others.”

—Dave, Houston, TX

“. . . has taught me how to share the truth with love and grace, and opened my eyes to see that the body of Christ is more than who’s in our building.”

—Pamela, Benson, NC

The Pastor and Counseling

The Pastor and Counseling

Jeremy Pierre, Deepak Reju

Written as a step-by-step guide for pastors, this practical book provides an overview of the pastoral counseling process and offers suggestions for cultivating a culture of discipleship in a church.

“. . . is dedicated to teaching us the basic doctrines of the faith and to renew and revive our faith in Christ through God-honoring teaching and preaching—while trusting in sola scriptura.”

—Benjamin, New Hill, NC

“. . . truly has a shepherd's heart. My pastor understands his role as shepherd under the Great Shepherd.”

—Aarond, Manassas, VA

“. . . faithfully teaches the Word to the congregation, no matter how many show up. He is a faithful shepherd who takes time to care for the flock with house visits, as well as being an example of going door-to-door to share the gospel in the community.”

—Taylor, Stillwater, MN

“. . . is unwavering in his commitment to God’s Word, and to teaching its truths with passion, conviction, and a palpable love for those whom God has called him to shepherd.”

—Jon, West Chester, PA

“. . . joins together doctrine and devotion, theology and doxology, belief and practice, being and making disciples.”

—Dave, Sioux City, IA

“. . . truly loves the Lord and loves our church. He is not flashy but he is faithful. He works diligently in preaching God’s Word and is a great example to our people in personal holiness. He is far from perfect but I am thankful to call him my pastor.”

—Ryan, Rio Rancho, NM

“. . . has been a major encouragement to me and others. He has led with his life and not just his words. He is also a tremendous husband to me, father to our children, and pastor to us and our congregation.”

—Rachael, Robinson Creek, KY

“. . . has persevered and shown so much patience and grace during our new church plant. He has taken homeless and broken people into his home to live and experience gospel family life and has shared it with all of us as well.”

—Cody, Cleveland, TN

The Imperfect Pastor

The Imperfect Pastor

Zack Eswine

Written in a compelling memoir style, Eswine reflects on the failures, burnout, pain, and complexities that come with pastoral ministry—helping readers find significance in the ordinary through honest conversation and theological reflection.

“. . .places a biblical emphasis on getting the gospel to all nations! We, as a local body, recently sent out our first long-term missions team to Peru to preach the gospel and plant a church among a certain unreached people group living in the mountains there! What a joy!”

—Paige, Jackson, MS

“. . . has taught our young adults and teens about systematic theology, helping to widen and expand our knowledge of God. He has been integral to leading us to grow in biblical literacy and worshiping God rightly.”

—Sarah, Paoli, IN

“. . . speaks with great conviction, does not equivocate in order to gain favor from the congregation, cares for his members (tirelessly worked in house reparation in the wake of Hurricane Harvey), exegetes with diligence and determination, and loves the Lord before anyone or anything else.”

—Maxwell, Houston, TX

“. . . through wisdom, a passion for God, and a love for God’s people, has led our congregation to think biblically about membership, ministry, evangelism, and discipline. He has preached the gospel faithfully and shown by example how the church leadership is called to graciously carry each others’ burdens and give thoughtful consideration to the calling of the church.”

—Suzanne, Alexandria, VA

“. . . has served faithfully in the face of great personal pain and loss.”

—Jessica, Madison, IN

“. . . displayed an amazing humility in his leadership and his preaching and I know it’s because he loves and trusts the Lord.”

—Jennifer, Tempe, AZ

“. . . continues to lead the flock in a godly way that honors the Word and presents ‘first things first’—the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

—Zachary, Martinsville, VA



David Murray

Although burnout is growing increasingly common among men in ministry, it doesn’t have to be inevitable. Pastor and counselor David Murray offers men gospel-centered hope for avoiding and recovering from burnout, setting a more sustainable pace.

“. . . is full of grace and truth. He stands firm with God’s Word as the ultimate authority, not swaying because of popular opinion or societal pressures, and offers truth even when it may be difficult or unpopular.”

—Sarah, Louisville, OH

“. . . has continually taken big risks for the glory of God. I know of no other man who is so humbled by the grace of God while also bold and confident in the face of adversity. The Lord has used him to grow our church, reach our city, and inspire so many husbands and dads to be more like Christ.”

—Dustin, Huntington, WV

“. . . has encouraged me to pursue my own calling to ministry.”

—Thomas, Charlotte, NC

“. . . He has graciously walked beside me through my husband’s final brief illness and death. They had become close friends, so the service he led for my husband was both personal and God-glorifying. In the aftermath of the death of my mate and adjusting to the many changes that come with that life-altering event, he and his family have embraced me into their own family. God’s love has been showered on me by my pastor, his wife, and their children."

—Shelby, Russellville, AR

“. . . makes me feel like I am part of the body of Christ and allows me to use my talents despite my disability.”

—Paul, Bedford, VA

“. . . seeks to continue learning and he has worked to practically equip the saints for the work of ministry in small-group ministry.”

—Christiana, Rocklin, CA

The Pastor's Justification

The Pastor's Justification

Jared C. Wilson

Neither a how-to manual nor an academic treatise on pastoral ministry, this book of biblical exposition, pastoral confession, and gospel exultation directs pastors to their only justification: the finished work of Christ.

“. . . spends so much time in prayer and study so that he can accurately teach God’s Word to the best of his ability. He preaches the Bible, not his opinion, and he is centered on the gospel.”

—Christie, Princeton, ME

“. . . consistently shows tremendous passion for the Lord and for the spread of the gospel. He treasures the Word and the people he serves. And he writes hymns for our congregation to sing!”

—Erin, Jackson, TN

“. . . is growing spiritually. He is not only my dad but my friend, my mentor, my preacher, and my hero.”

—Zarah May, Butan City, Phillipines

“. . . has been humble enough to acknowledge his sins and failures to us as a congregation, and he has faithfully and accurately taught us the Word of God.”

—Chris, Orange, CA

“. . . faithfully prays for me.”

—Joel, Hicksville, OH

“. . . is easily reachable to talk about challenges and to pray. As a missionary living overseas, it can be easy to feel disconnected from our support in the States. It is an important thing to feel connected to people back in the US and I cherish my relationship with my pastor.”

—Scott, Mansfield, TX

“. . . takes time to seek God for direction in ministry. I also admire the way that he has made an effort to build a leadership team in our church over the past few years.”

—Caleb, Panama City, Panama

“. . . has served wholeheartedly a low income neighborhood in our community that is devastated by drugs, alcohol addiction, child abuse, and neglect. He exemplifies the word servant and has shown Christ to all of us watching.“

—Gina, Escanaba, MI

The Pastor's Book

The Pastor's Book

R. Kent Hughes, Douglas Sean O'Donnell

Written by two seasoned pastors, this practical book is a comprehensive guide to nearly every facet of pastoral ministry, including pastoral counseling, hospital visitations, funerals, weddings, the sacraments, holiday services, and congregational music.

“. . . is willing to walk through the valleys with me, as well as celebrate the victories. He challenges me and encourages me. He sets a good example of what it is to follow Christ and lead others.”

—Nathan, Flint, MI

“. . . strives to be balanced in his approach to topics in the Bible and culture. He is always thoughtful and nuanced in the responses that he gives to my questions and the questions of others in our church. I know he invests a lot of time studying and reading the Bible and it shows in his preaching and teaching.”

—Jenny, Fletcher, NC

“. . . is not ashamed of preaching the ‘whole counsel of God.’ I've been attending the church for over a year and every message has been challenging, convicting, and always points to the cross.”

—Manny, Owasso, OK

“. . . is not above getting in the trenches and doing the physical work. He leads by example, doing himself what he asks others to do.”

—Brian, North Little Rock, AR

“. . . makes space for God (and for us) by helping us slow down and listen carefully, prayerfully, and expectantly to what God is saying to us through his Word and his people.”

—Don, Lake Forest, IL

“. . . walked our family through the most difficult season of our lives. He is a man who loves God’s Word and always seeks to handle it soundly.”

—Rachel, Crestview, FL

“. . . has gracefully transitioned from an eight-year-long ministry at one church to start again, by God’s clear call, at another. By God’s grace, I see him shepherding this new flock while adjusting to a new city and surrounding. He is a kind-hearted, bold yet gentle leader with a great passion for the Lord.”

—Suzanne, Sparta, TN

". . . likes to think outside the box, yet always within the bounds of historic orthodoxy.”

—John, Iowa City, IA

“. . . has exhibited great leadership and exemplary faith. He used to be a Muslim but eight years ago he had an encounter with the Lord which radically changed his life. Now, he is serving the Lord in full-time ministry. He is passionate about discipleship, especially in raising up the next generation of leaders who will fearlessly reach out to the lost.”

—Clairce, Tagaytay City, Phillipines

Dangerous Calling

Dangerous Calling

Paul David Tripp

Recognizing the widespread struggles facing pastors today, Tripp exposes and exhorts the cultures that train and support our church leaders so that they can lead well and our churches can be healthy.

". . . is faithful to the inerrancy of Scripture. He preaches truth without compromise and is a powerful shepherd who cares deeply about the discipleship of our body.”

—Lauren, Frankfort, IL

". . . tirelessly prays for the congregants, continually visits the elderly, and reaches out to the unchurched. He often answers the requests of nonchurch members in the community to visit their loved ones who are in need, and he does all this while being committed in love and deed to his wife and three young girls.”

—Whitney, Eufala, AL

". . . sets an incredible example of being passionate about sharing the gospel with everyone he meets.”

—Holly, Spring Hope, NC

". . . displays great love for Jesus and others not only at church and in the community, but in our home as well. He is a true man of integrity.”

—Kaitlin, Beach Lake, PA

". . . is genuinely kind, welcoming, refreshingly humble and transparent and is always looking to link arms with every person that comes his way, that we might walk and grow together as one family.”

—Merri, Jasper, GA

Expositional Preaching

Expositional Preaching

David R. Helm

Expository preaching is crucial for the health and vitality of the church. Offering step-by-step guidance for preachers, Helm outlines what must be believed and accomplished to become a faithful expositor of God's Word.

“. . . has a huge heart for all people. Early every morning, he walks around our city and prays for the people in the neighborhoods. He demonstrates Christ’s love through his compassion and desire to see everyone become a part of God’s family and community.”

—Michele, San Luis Obispo, CA

“. . . consistently lives and models what he preaches. He is the most intentional-living person I have ever met when it comes to seeking to apply biblical principles to every aspect of his daily walk.”

—Gary, Wren, OH

". . . preaches, teaches, and ministers with courage, clarity, humility, strength, gentleness, insight, and humor.”

—Sunup, Irvine, CA

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