It is believed that the concept of clergy appreciation started with the Apostle Paul as he was establishing the first Christian churches. In 1 Timothy, he wrote, “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). And, in 1 Thessalonians, he said, “Respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work” (1 Thess. 5:12-13).
Accordingly, over the centuries, decades and years, pastors have been recognized and honored, either formally or informally, by many denominations and local churches at various times of the year. It has been a long-standing practice.
Clergy Appreciation Month is a special time that congregations set aside each year to honor their pastors and pastoral families for the hard work, sacrificial dedication and multiple blessings provided by these special people. It is typically scheduled in October, but can be held at any time that is convenient for the church and the community. It is also important to remember that appreciation, affirmation and prayer support of our spiritual leaders is appropriate throughout the entire year.
The nature of the service provided by pastors and their families is unique. God has entrusted to them one of the most precious of assignments — the spiritual well-being of His flock. When a pastor becomes ineffective, the very souls of his or her parishioners are endangered. When eternity is in the balance, we should all be concerned.
Pastors and their families live under incredible pressures. Their lives are played out in a fishbowl, with the entire congregation and community watching their every move. They are expected to have ideal families, to be perfect people, to always be available, to never be down and to have all the answers we need to keep our own lives stable and moving forward. Those are unrealistic expectations to place on anyone, yet most of us are disappointed when a pastor becomes overwhelmed, seems depressed, lets us down or completely burns out.
That’s why God has instructed us to recognize His servants.
“The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching” (1 Timothy 5:17).
The good news is that we can make a difference! Clergy Appreciation Month is one way we can counter the negative erosion in the lives of our spiritual leaders with the positive affirmation they need.
What you Can Do for Clergy Appreciation!
- Send your clergy a card of appreciation
- Send a letter indicating how they have helped you.
- Add an extra thank you in your greetings and conversations with them.
- Join the planning committee if “something special” is being planned
- Make a special “Love Offering”
- Honor their spouses and/or children with a note of thanks or gift
Most of all do something to express your gratitude for their service!
Don’t your pastors and their families deserve this kind of recognition? Do something about it today!