Are you lifting up your pastor?

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By Michael Lewis 

Your pastor needs encouragement. During fall, the North American Mission Board (NAMB) isencouraging you and your church leadership to pick a day to lift your pastor through expressions of loving appreciation. Why should you lift your pastor? Just consider the greatest pastor who everlived, the apostle Paul, who experienced a need for encouragement. In 2 Corinthians 7: 5-6, Paul transparentlyshared, “For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears. Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus” (NKJV).

If Paul needed encouragement, how much more does your pastor? Notice that in the midst of Paul’s struggles with personal insecurities and ministry conflict, God comforted him through the encouragement of Titus. The Lift Pastor Appreciation emphasis encourages you to extend to your pastor and his family the “Titus Touch” of encouragement. King Midas is popularly remembered in Greek mythology for his ability to turn everything he touched into gold. This became known as the “Golden Touch” or the “Midas Touch.”The “Titus Touch” is the golden touch of encouragement, which is given by a church through lifting their pastor in appreciation. Will you join God in His gracious work of “comforting” your pastor and his family? Will you lift your pastor and extend the Titus Touch to him?

The struggles of pastoral ministry are real. They have been documented anew in a unique study LifeWay Research recently completed in partnership with NAMB. The study surveyed 1,500 pastors. Highlights among the results include 84 percent of pastors reporting they are on call 24 hours a day; 80 percent of pastors expect conflict in their church; 54 percent find the role of pastor frequently overwhelming; 53 percent are often concerned about their family's financial security; 48 percent often feel the demands of ministry are more than they can handle; and 21 percent say their church has unrealistic expectations of them.

In the course of 25 years, serving as pastor for churches of a variety of sizes and settings, there have been special times when church leaders have taken five minutes of a worship gathering to recognize our family, which has brought great encouragement to me. One year the chairman of the personnel committee asked our family to join him before the congregation and acknowledged the love of the church for our family and appreciation for my leadership as a pastor. The church gave us a gift card to enjoy a much-needed time of rest. This simple act brought such affirmation and encouragement not only to me, but also to my entire family. When a pastor is lifted up, the entire church is lifted with encouragement.

Students of the Great Awakenings have discovered that one common factor to every move of God among His people is bold and courageous preaching. This bold and courageous preaching comes only from pastors who are prayed for and encouraged. Could it be by simple acts of lifting your pastor and his family that God may begin the next Great Awakening in your church and community?

Resources and prayerful suggestions to make Lift Pastor Appreciation special for you and your pastor can be found at If you lift your pastor, NAMB may lift your church with a gifted Shane and Shane concert. Enter a contest to host a concert by simply sharing how you lift your pastor, and encourage others to do the same. Post photos on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #LiftMyPastor showing how you lift your pastor with one of NAMB’s resources. Posts should include details of why and how the church body chose to lift their pastor. Each social media post that uses the hashtag #LiftMyPastor will be entered for the chance to bring Shane and Shane to their church for a worship night.

Visit for details and more about entering your church’s example of pastor appreciation.

Michael Lewis serves as executive director of pastoral care and development for the North American Mission Board. 

Date Created: 10/5/2015 3:13:01 PM

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SBDR responding to historic Carolina floods

By Joe Conway 

SBDR responding to historic Carolina floodsALPHARETTA, Ga. – Millennial floodwaters, sparked by upper-atmospheric rain bands from Hurricane Joaquin, covered much of Columbia, Charleston and other cities and towns across South Carolina Saturday and Sunday, Oct, 3-4, claiming as many as six lives and causing the shutdown of Interstate highways and scores of evacuations. Southern Baptists are preparing to help, as forecasts call for more rain and flash flooding in the Carolinas Monday.

As much as two to four additional inches of rain were forecast across the Carolinas Monday, according to the National Weather Service. The service reported that Columbia suffered its rainiest 24-hour period in history Sunday. Reports of up to two feet of rain were common across the state.

For Mickey Caison, interim executive director for the North American Mission Board’s (NAMB) Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR), the tragedy is especially troubling. Caison is a South Carolina native.

“My heart breaks as I see the historic flooding in my home state of South Carolina,” said Caison. “I have seen pictures of Providence Baptist Church and the home where my family lived while I served as pastor there. It is in the middle of flood waters. I am praying for those in leadership as they mount the massive response that will be required.”

South Carolina Emergency Management Division has attributed at least nine weather-related deaths to the rain and flooding as of Monday. Eight counties or cities in the state have issued overnight curfews, according to the office.

With the road and bridge infrastructure damage, logistics as simple as travel will pose challenges. Caison and SBDR leaders are working on solutions. 

“The major problem is the large number of roads and bridges that are washed out,” said Caison. “As soon as possible, we will be moving equipment and volunteers into the affected areas. Please be in prayer for those affected, as well as Disaster Relief leaders and volunteers as we bring help, healing and hope.”

NAMB SBDR coordinators Eddie Blackmon and Cathy Miller are deploying to South Carolina to assist the response. Miller will assist South Carolina SBDR in the command post. Blackmon will assist South Carolina as liaison with the American Red Cross.

In addition, NAMB will be mobilizing two semi trucks with supplies Monday. NAMB will also deploy two recovery trailers as soon as roads in the areas are open. Like so many other facilities, the South Carolina Baptist Convention office building is almost cut off at this time with flooded roads, according to Caison.

Caison said Southern Baptists can help now by providing funds for flood survivors. In partnership and support of the South Carolina Baptist Convention, NAMB will:

  • purchase supplies and materials to clean out homes and churches, 
  • purchase food, supplies and housing for volunteers mudding out homes and churches,
  • assist families with special needs and repair of homes,
  • purchase fuel and supplies to operate trucks and equipment,
  • assist churches with grants to clean out and reopen for ministry or loss of income,
  • provide for warehousing and transportation of supplies and materials and 
  • provide rental equipment to support mud-out operations.

“We are praying for the people of South Carolina and across the Atlantic states,” said Kevin Ezell, NAMB president. “We will support our partners in providing aid to the hurting and assistance for the devastating losses. People are grieving the loss of family and friends. Homes, schools, businesses and churches are flooded. Southern Baptist will be there to help bring healing.”

Those wishing to donate to SBDR relief can contact the Baptist convention in their state or visit For phone donations, call 1-866-407-NAMB (6262) or mail checks to NAMB, P.O. Box 116543, Atlanta, GA 30368-6543. Designate checks for “Disaster Relief.”

NAMB coordinates and manages Southern Baptist responses to major disasters through partnerships with 42 state Baptist conventions, most of which have their own state Disaster Relief ministries.

Southern Baptists have 65,000 trained volunteers—including chaplains—and 1,550 mobile units for feeding, chainsaw, mud-out, command, communication, child care, shower, laundry, water purification, repair/rebuild and power generation. SBDR is one of the three largest mobilizers of trained Disaster Relief volunteers in the United States, along with the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army.

Updates on the latest SBDR response are available at

Joe Conway writes for the North American Mission Board. 

Date Created: 10/5/2015 12:31:46 PM

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