PASTOR APPRECIATION

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They are pillars of our community, our moral guideposts, the shoulders we lean on and look to for guidance. Pastors and ministers are called upon by great numbers of people. But to whom can they turn when they need guidance or a shoulder to lean on? Of course, they are generally expected to receive all they need from God. But what of the human connection? Pastors are often thought of as being somehow beyond or above the very human needs which they lavish upon their congregations. Time and attention, a listening ear, a bastion of hope and an ever-positive attitude are expected “from” them. But how often are they given “to” them?

According to Maranathalife.com, depression is the most common problem affecting pastors today. Studies have shown that as many as 1,500 pastors quit the ministry each month due to depression, while 70% of pastors fight depression on a daily basis. In fact, 50% of pastors said if they had another form of income, they would quit the ministry. A startling 70% say they don’t even have a close friend or mentor.

“Everyone needs someone to turn to in their time of need, and Pastors are no exception,” says Jim Bevis, President of CSR Ministries. “In the church of today, pastors are placed on pedestals and are often viewed as superhuman. The sad part is this simply isn’t true. I’ve been in the ministry for over 45 years and can empathize with what pastors go through from day to day. I have experienced burnout twice. I can also remember very distinctly, as if yesterday, the two times in 45 years someone came to my offices for the express purpose of encouragement.”

CSR Ministries, based in Florence, Alabama, is an interdenominational Christian ministry seeking to combat this problem by launching a Ministry of Encouragement to support and encourage pastors and ministers locally and across the country.

CSR has teamed with the Marriott Shoals Hotel and Spa to sponsor “An Evening of Appreciation for Pastors and Ministers.” This unique event will bring ministers together for an opportunity to be encouraged and shown how important they are to our community.

While the gala will be by invitation only, regardless of denomination, race or gender, all Shoals Area senior pastors and ministers, along with their spouses, are invited to attend the special event free of charge, Tuesday, October 18, 2005.

“We’ve mailed information to as many churches as we can gather adequate addressing for,” said Bevis. “We’ve even had notices hand delivered to some churches where we didn’t have a correct mailing address, because we want to be certain that no one is left out. We hope that anyone not receiving their invitation will contact us for information.”

The festivities at the Marriott will include a reception, multi-course dinner and uplifting entertainment by Dennis Swanberg, a noted national speaker and Christian humorist who promises side-splitting comedy with a soul-building message.

“October is clergy appreciation month,” said Bevis. “We are hoping churches will help cover a small portion of the event by sponsoring their pastor and spouse’s dinner, as a gift from the church body to their pastor.” Corporate sponsors are also being sought to help defray additional costs associated with the banquet.

Regardless of sponsorship, Bevis says that all senior pastors and spouses will be invited free of charge. They must, however, register prior to the event so that meals and gifts can be prepared in their honor.

To request an invitation or find out more about private or corporate sponsorships, contact CSR Ministries by emailing to jim.bevis@csrministries.org, or call (256) 718-3775. Visit CSR on the web at www.csrministries.org. Learn more about Dennis Swanberg online at www.dennisswanberg.com.

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