The other day I was thinking about all the nice things said about a person at their funeral. I’ve been at a few services with an open mic (not recommended) where it took a couple of hours for people to say all they wanted to say about the deceased. It always struck me as sad. Why do we wait until the person is dead to say how much we loved and appreciated them?
I’d love to institute a policy where it is required that churches hold a Pastor Appreciation Day every couple of years to say all of the nice things that are on our hearts and minds, but never get shared out loud. I doubt that will ever happen, but it is a nice thought (some churches do celebrate Clergy Appreciation Day every year though).
Rather than just thinking those nice thoughts, how about organizing your own Pastor Appreciation Day at your church? You can get all fancy or you can have a simple time of people sharing stories of how the pastor(s) of your church have touched their lives. You can have people write notes, send cards, or have a videographer film church members. Knock yourself out.
Our pastors are human beings. They have feelings that get hurt. They get tired. They get overwhelmed. They feel pain when they are misunderstood. They get discouraged when their efforts aren’t always appreciated. Just like you and me. Scheduling a couple of hours every few years to honor and appreciate our pastor(s) doesn’t seem like too much of a bother. You don’t have to do it this week or this month. Get a small group together to plan for a cake reception after Sunday evening service, a pot o’ blessing after the church service, or whatever else strikes your fancy. Then pass the word to the congregation. Your pastor won’t care if you plan a humble event (especially if it doesn’t cost the church anything!), he will be overjoyed by your outpouring of love. She will be encouraged by your kind words. (FYI: The official Clergy Appreciation Day this year is Sunday, October 11th – you’ve got plenty of time to make plans)
Just like Mark Twain, I’ll bet your pastor would say, “I can live two months on a good compliment.” If that is the case, can you imagine how refreshing it would be to hear many good compliments? So let those compliments flow and spend some time showing your pastor some appreciation at an event created for just that purpose. He/she will appreciate it. You will appreciate it. And, you might just get some great food or a tasty piece of cake out of the deal. Win-win, I’d say!
*I recognize that there are many women pastors and that all posts don’t apply equally to men and women in ministry. I try to be gender neutral and when the use of he/she or him/her is too cumbersome we default to the masculine pronoun. The reverse is true for referring to the pastor’s spouse. I hope that you can read past these masculine and feminine pronouns to the spirit behind each post —- creative ways to be a blessing to those who serve us…..and their spouses.