October was “Pastor Appreciation Month”. Yep, the Christian bookstore and card manufacturers created an entire month to recognize/appreciate pastors!
And, today is November 2nd. So, I’m going to blog about Pastor Appreciation Month after the fact (that’s just how culturally relevant I happen to be!).
Let me be clear, the typical pastor did not enter ministry for the pay, the accolades, the pats on the back, or to have an entire month dedicated for their appreciation.
Yet, at the same time, it is nice and humbling to have people express their thanks and appreciation for the hard work of ministry.
I have been fortunate to serve congregations that go above and beyond when it comes to pastoral appreciation!
However, I have colleagues who serve congregations that don’t even have the politeness to pretend to appreciate the pastoral staff for a day, let alone an entire month! Some of my colleagues don’t even have someone from the congregation share the obligatory “I Appreciate My Pastor” meme on his/her Facebook wall! Because I know what it’s like to experience the “above and beyond”, I want my colleagues to experience the same!
Here are some suggestions I have:
- Feel free to express your thanks and appreciation outside the boundaries of Pastor Appreciation Month. Random cards, emails, texts and so on are extremely encouraging!
- Don’t forget the pastor’s family. While a pastor might appreciate whatever card or gift is given, recognizing that the pastor’s family makes contributions and sacrifices for the sake of ministry should not be taken lightly. Sending cards and/or sharing gifts on the birthday of the pastor’s spouse and children goes a long way…trust me!
- Ask the pastor if he/she has an Amazon wish list and use that as a helpful guide. Some folks aren’t fully aware what their pastor enjoys to read or what her/his hobbies happen to be…
- Make a donation to a mission or ministry the pastor is passionate about in her/his honor. Pastors generally don’t need more “stuff” and this is a great way to honor your pastor while “doing all the good you can!”
- Be creative! Some of the best and most memorable gifts of appreciation are the heartfelt gifts that maybe didn’t cost a dime, but express a great deal of thought.
- Don’t assume someone else will take care of appreciating the pastor!
- Don’t ignore it, even if you don’t like your pastor! So, you don’t like your pastor? Do you think he/she will get any more tolerable if you ignore them and express little to no gratitude for his/her service? Some of my colleagues who saw other pastors posting pictures of gifts and words of thanks found themselves a bit depressed and jealous (yes, pastors are human too) and questioned their effectiveness. That doesn’t do much for pastoral motivation! Plus, you just might find that if you think hard, you might find something to be thankful for and realize your pastor truly isn’t that bad!
Again, I’ve been fortunate to serve congregations that go above and beyond and have overwhelmed our family with thoughtful words and gifts. But, I know that’s not the case everywhere.
So, if you or your church have set the bar too low for pastor appreciation, start fresh and go all out! The better you treat your pastor and her/his family, the better they will want to serve the church!