Brian and Sandi felt called by God to pastoral ministry when they were both 45 years old. Brian left his leadership position with a national nonprofit and took a $70,000 pay cut to become a pastor.
Two years into accepting the call to become a pastor of a 250-person church, Sandi was diagnosed with terminal cancer and was told she would only live about another year. In addition to dealing with the tragic news and fighting cancer, they also were parents to three school-age children who were 9, 7, and 5 years old.
The cancer was taking its toll on Sandi and Brian in every way – physically, financially, and emotionally. Sandi went through surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, which left her feeling fatigued on a regular basis. Additionally, more than $100,000 in medical bills were beginning to pile up. They were having a hard time making ends meet with the medical bills, five mouths to feed, and Brian’s income. But, they were not alone.
Church families and others voluntarily rallied around them to provide financial support and free meals. They paid all of their medical bills and provided so much food that it left their refrigerator and freezer overflowing.
While much appreciated, Brian and Sandi realized that the food preparation, clean up and returning dishes were sometimes creating more work, not less. What was the solution? Church families started providing gift cards to all of the local restaurants and fast food establishments. All that Brian and Sandi had to do was pick up the kids after their school activities and ask, “Where do you want to eat tonight?” No food prep, clean up, or dishes to return.
Instead, they were able to spend quality time as a family eating hot meals together and feeling loved and cared for by their church families and friends.
And, that’s not all. Miraculously, it turned out that the doctors were wrong. Sandi didn’t live just one year she lived eight years before God called her to heaven. And, they had a year’s supply of restaurant gift cards after Sandi passed away. As a widower and new single dad, Brian could ensure that his three hungry children, who were now teenagers, were fed.
Many churches have limited budgets and are not able to compensate for their pastors, or church staff very well. But the Bless Your Pastor’s movement is mobilizing Christians and churches everywhere to show and share God’s love for their pastors and church staff.
What can you do to bless your pastor with your time, skills, and resources? The Bless Your Pastor’s website has free video training and a toolkit of resources that will encourage and empower you, your church board, and families to care for your pastor and church staff.