Whether you know it or not, pastors in the church work very hard. They do a lot of things publicly like preaching, teaching, visitation, and leading; but they also do quite a bit behind the scenes like counseling, studying, planning, and praying. Unfortunately, for many pastors, it has become a thankless job. For this reason alone, it would be important for you to celebrate this upcoming October because it is Clergy Appreciation month.
It is surprising to me that so few people know that such a celebration exists. Even in my seminary classes, very few students who are preparing for the ministry are aware of this practice. Historically, the event has existed since 1992 and the second Sunday of October is specifically designated as Clergy Appreciation Day. This year, it occurs on Sunday, October 12, 2014.
Let me begin by noting some important reasons to appreciate your pastors. First, there are many biblical mandates to do so. For example, in 1 Thessalonians 5:12, it says, “but we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction.” Additionally, Galatians 6:6 tells us “the one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him.” Finally in 1 Timothy 5:17, Paul writes, “the elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.” The phrase “all good things” in the Galatians passage and “double honor” in the 1 Timothy passage could even be interpreted as monetary or financial gifts for the pastor.
Another reason to appreciate them during this time is that pastors need encouragement because of all the pressure and stress that comes with the duties of the ministry. This includes sermon prep, budgeting, setting the vision for the ministry, meetings, training, and last but not least taking care of the congregation members. All this adds up to a lot of hours and a lot of stress. Having been a pastor myself, there are times when I felt discouraged because I didn’t feel like the sermon went as well as it could have. This feeling increases when anonymous critics confirm this with a nasty note or critical statement on a comment card. So the need for encouragement is necessary to help get through this weekly grind. Your pastors need a lot of encouragement for what they do. Please don’t wait for their going away or retirement party to thank them. That’s way too little, too late!
So what are some ways to encourage a pastor? Let me provide a list of some possible ways to encourage your pastor and his family:
- Give a handwritten note or letter to your pastor.
- Get an Amazon or Starbuck’s gift card for him.
- Offer to babysit the kids so that he could have a date night with his wife.
- Volunteer to serve or help out with the ministry in some capacity.
- Take the pastor and his family out for a meal.
- Send the family to an overnight trip somewhere and pay for the expenses.
- Ask your pastor if he has any prayer requests, and then pray for him.
- Offer to pay for the pastor’s wife for a manicure and a pedicure.
- Get the pastor a membership to a gym or health club.
- Arrange to have a family picture taken with a nice frame for them.
These are just a few ways that you can appreciate those who lead you in the church. Please plan ahead this year to celebrate the whole month of October and especially October 12th of this year!