This is a letter to say thank you.
For the messages of hope that you preach, the people you lead to Christ, the baptisms you perform, the newcomers to whom you teach the faith, the long-time churchgoers whom you nurture in the faith, thank you. Thank you for the counsel you provide to those who wish to marry, and for presiding over the covenant that two people will make with one another and with God. Thank you for the people you visit in the hospital, particularly those who have no one else to visit them. Most people will never know the comfort you bring when you visit those who cannot leave their homes, when you pray with them and offer them the body and blood of Christ. At least, they won’t know it until they themselves experience it. Thank you for the visits you make to the jails, and for letting people know that all is not lost and that we have not given up on them.
I know that the work you do can be all-consuming. It can be physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting. It can be joyful, but it can also hurt. Please don’t forget to care for your own spiritual life. Spend time in prayer. Cast all your cares upon Christ, because he cares for you (1 Pet 5:7). Fill your own spiritual well so that you don’t exhaust yourself in giving the living water of Christ to others. Immerse yourself in the scriptures. Find partners in the faith whom you can trust. Your congregation is important, but so are you. God cares about you as much as anyone to whom you minister. Don’t forget: you matter to God personally. You always have and you always will.
Churches may seem crazy sometimes. Denominations seem crazy much of the time. Thank you for not giving up, for answering God’s call again and again. There is no more important work than the work you do of leading people more and more deeply into the life of God. As a child of the church, I am grateful to you.
Your brother in Christ,