Pastor Appreciation Day is Oct. 13. Clergy Appreciation Month is October.
During the month of October many churches recognize Pastor Appreciation Month, also known as Clergy Appreciation Month, as an intentional time to honor their pastors and church staff.
The history of appreciating those ordained by God goes back to Bible times. The Apostle Paul writes that “the elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching” (1 Tim. 5:17). In 1 Thessalonians 5:12–13, Paul suggests those whom God has chosen to work among believers should be held in the highest regard in love for their work.
“Recognizing your pastor and his family is a gift of love,” said Barrett Long, pastor of First Baptist Church, Tuscumbia. “This should be above and beyond what a church is already doing for their leader. Observing Pastor Appreciation Month is a way to say, ‘Our church loves and appreciates you.’”
Churches choose many ways to honor their pastor and church staff or celebrate their work in the church and community. It’s really a family appreciation, Long said.
“However a church chooses to honor their minister(s) it should bring joy and encouragement to his family,” he said. “As a pastor is on-call throughout the day and often into the night there are times when the family has to change their plans.”
Danny Rasberry, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist, Stanton, agreed.
“It’s important for the pastor’s wife to be recognized also,” Rasberry said. “She may be left out when only the pastor receives this acknowledgment.”
Rasberry says a pastor may go through a “dry spell” and it’s good to “tell as well as show” appreciation.
“Ebenezer Baptist adds this event to the calendar each year. At this time the church honors us with a lunch and a love offering,” he said. “This is just one way we know the congregation loves us.”
If your church is wondering how to observe Pastor Appreciation Day or Clergy Appreciation Month perhaps these suggestions will help.
Most important: do something. Involve as many people as possible. Don’t neglect to say “thank-you” to the pastor and church staff who are always there for your congregation.
- Circle of prayer. Ask the pastor, pastoral staff members and their families to come to the front of the auditorium. Invite members to surround them and pray for them.
- Write letters. During October distribute stamped envelopes addressed to the pastor and church staff. Ask members to write a short letter to each expressing their appreciation of staff leadership. Thank them for ministering to you in both good and not-so-good times.
- Plan a churchwide meal. What are your staff members’ favorite dishes? Plan a luncheon or dinner honoring them with food and fellowship. Ask several members to share a time when a staff member was there for them or their family in a time of need.
- Purchase Christian books by favorite authors, Bible commentaries or other study aids appropriate to the individual’s role and interests.
- Gift-a-day. Ask Sunday School classes or other church organizations to work together on an appreciation calendar. Each day in October, the pastor and/or staff members will receive one small item or gift, such as a gift card for coffee at a local coffee shop, a homemade cake, a car wash or theater tickets.
- Decorate office doors of the staff. Ask children to draw “happy” pictures or use balloons to decorate.
- Give ministers a plaque stenciled with a Bible verse (Num. 6:24–26 for example) as a prayer for God’s blessings.
- Share with the media. Let others in your community know you appreciate your pastor and staff.
- Remodel the church office. How long has it been since the church office was updated? When visitors stop by what is their first impression? Work with the pastor to determine the best way to do this and be willing to help raise the funds.
- Random acts of kindness. Think of ways to show kindness to your pastor, church staff and their families. If they have young children can you offer transportation when they are occupied with church duties? If a staff member’s family has a pet can you provide a safe home for the dog or cat if they’re on vacation?
Most important: Pray for your pastor and church staff. Support them by your attendance and commitment. Tell others about the pastor and church staff God has chosen to lead your church. Be cooperative and loving toward others. Honor God by honoring His servants.
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