Sometimes pastors need a break from lifting others up so that they can get a lift. That was the theme of the Thomson Kiwanis Club's annual Pastor's Appreciation Luncheon Monday.
More than a dozen pastors gathered Monday for a meal of fried chicken and were treated to a message from Leonard DuPree, former pastor of the First Baptist Church of Thomson. He told those present the best way to appreciate pastors is to be a man or woman of God.
Dr. Leonard DuPree, former pastor at Thomson First Baptist, spoke at the Kiwanis Club's Pastor Appreciation Luncheon.
The luncheon was an encouragement to those who give so much of their time to the congregation and the community, said Tim Ferrell, pastor of Bethel Baptist Church.
"Many times pastors are busy and a lot of people don't see everything that they do," he said. "Without visually seeing everything they do, we sometimes take them for granted and don't appreciate all of the effort and the hard work and the time that they do put in."
Dr. DuPree's message outlined the seven steps to express appreciation for pastors by becoming a man or woman of God. He said believers in Jesus should grow in grace, pray for power, prioritize marriage, tend to family, partner with the pastor, engage grace gifts as well as see and serve the kingdom.
"I think it's important to recognize any leaders in the community. Pastors of course should be considered as some of the leaders of the community, servant leaders" Dr. Dupree said, adding that the soul of McDuffie County is still in tact in the midst of a world that has increasingly less respect for people of faith.
"I just thank the men and women of the Kiwanis club. They did this when I was here," Dr. DuPree said. "It's been a long standing tradition, but I don't think they do it out of tradition. I think they do it out of the sincerity of their hearts."
One of the luncheon's organizers is Tom Smalley, who chairs the club's Human and Spiritual Values Committee. Mr. Smalley said recognizing McDuffie County's pastors in a public forum is vital because otherwise, they might go without a pat on the back.
"Pastors in general in this life, unless they're in a mega-church, there's no financial rewards," he said. "This kind of gave us an opportunity to give or to plant into their ministry and to encourage them because we know that it wasn't for gain that they went into their occupation."
And for the pastors who were able to attend the luncheon, the club accomplished its purpose.
"Something like this does help encourage someone who, every now and then, needs to pause and be encouraged, instead of being an encouragement to everybody else," Rev. Ferrell said.