The month of October is officially Pastor Appreciation Month. I think. Maybe October 13-19 is Pastor Appreciation Week. Or, perhaps only Sunday, October 13th is Pastor Appreciation Day. I’m a bit confused because there are several references on the internet to a day, a week, or the entire month to set aside to show your pastor(s) appreciation. Which is a good thing. Pastors don’t get enough appreciation as it is, so I will err on the side of over appreciation and say, Happy Pastor Appreciation Month!!!!!
To all of you pastors, whether full-time, bi-vocational, semi-retired, or retired, WE APPRECIATE YOU and all you have done and will do for the Body of Christ!!! That felt so good I think I’ll say it again. WE APPRECIATE YOU!! Do you feel the love? I hope so.
We all know (and if you didn’t, you will soon) that the job of pastoring a flock, big or small, can be a daunting and, quite often, thankless job. You see, the pastor of today is expected to have his (or her) finger in every pie. He should be adept at preaching and teaching the Word of God, which makes sense. However, he is also expected to run the church like a CEO of a large company; oversee the praise and worship in such a way that everyone’s personal preferences are satisfied (an impossible task!); make sure the nursery, children’s, and youth programs are top notch – staffed with the best and most entertaining leaders; visit the sick and infirm; counsel – pretty much everyone, for free; attend every, single, function that comes under the umbrella of the church; and, oh yeah, be an outstanding husband and father. Did I also mention that he is expected to grow the church into a thriving body that people flock to week after week giving their tithe with joyful abandon? Then, if the congregation and/or Elder Board perceive that the pastor is failing in any of the above expectations he is criticized and judged.
To be fair, I’d say that 80-85% of the people regularly attending a church do, in fact, appreciate their pastor. Unfortunately, those 15-20% who are dissatisfied with their pastor’s performance are often the vocal minority. A pastor usually only hears the negative because, for some reason, negative people love to express their negative views. Sister Grumpy Bum delights in sharing her Pastor Score Card, with more checks in the minus category than the plus category, with not only the pastor, but with everyone else within hearing distance. While Mr. and Mrs. Pleasant Pew Sitter slip quietly out of church each week with a smile or quick nod in the pastor’s direction. As a result the pastor hears all of the ways in which he is falling short, instead of the many ways that he is helping to build the Kingdom. Shame, shame, shame on all of us 80-85% Pleasant Pew Sitters!
So, I am officially issuing a challenge. Let’s do what we can to appreciate our pastors the entire month of October. You don’t need to buy a bag of his favorite candy or give him another devotional (a few suggestions read online) as he is probably battling the Battle of the Bulge and has more books than he could possibly read in a thousand years. Rather write a note and drop it in the offering. Tell him in person on your way out the door. Send an email. Those are all easy enough. Researchers tell us that it takes five positive comments to counteract one negative comment. So, for every Negative Nelly we need five Positive Pollys. Not too hard. We can do this people!
Next, for the month of November do the same. I’m not suggesting that you turn into a stalker and fill your pastor’s inbox with sweet compliments on his sermon, just simple acts that acknowledge you notice all he does for your church are sufficient. A smile. A handshake and quick thank you. A $5 gift card to his/her favorite coffee shop a couple of times a year. If you know the pastor well (better yet, if the pastor knows you well) an offer to babysit while he takes his wife on a date would be greatly appreciated. Be creative!
December, January, February…….. the same as above. You get the idea. Pastor appreciation shouldn’t be confined to one month or one week and certainly not one day a year! Forget the special tribute in the bulletin or the silver tea set (unless he has served your church for 25 years or more, then it should probably be gold-plated). Actually noticing all that your pastor does and acknowledging those things will go far in building up your pastor and your entire pastoral team! By your small acts of kindness and encouragement you will be giving your pastor an enormous gift. A gift that will, in turn, bless you and your entire congregation.
Now that I’ve thrown down the gauntlet what are you going to do to show your pastor some appreciation?