Pastor Appreciation Day, also known as Clergy Appreciation Day, is the second Sunday of October. Can we make it like a second Christmas for our pastors in this unbelievable year that we are experiencing?
Pastors, like many among us, have faced an unbelievable year. Consider just a few of the ways pastors have had to adapt their thinking and practices:
- A “live stream” was once just a river that was good for fishing, but now it’s a place to preach.
- “Zoom” was something done with a camera to get a close-up, not to make hospital calls!
- Preaching to a mostly empty sanctuary was always a fear, not most pastors’ reality.
- One week, crowd size is limited to ten people, the next week it is unlimited, and the following it is back to socially distanced seating.
- Some people hate the pastor because the church leaders require people to wear masks, while others won’t attend unless everyone does.
If ever there was a year that our pastors needed to hear that they are appreciated by their people, I would suggest this is the year!
What a blessing that the NAE, through their Bless Your Pastor initiative, is offering senior or lead pastors in the Missionary Church an opportunity to receive a $250 Amazon gift card if their congregation takes up a love gift offering to bless their pastors and staff. Visit BlessYourPastor.org to find out more details and also find some free resources to help you in expressing appreciation.
Please, don’t be sheepish about giving your pastors gifts. In fact, you should insist on it, and let your creativity run wild. Ask yourself: “How could we make our pastor feel extraordinarily appreciated? How could we make them feel truly blessed?”
Here are some bad ideas:
- Anything with a Bible verse written on it (he/she is the pastor; it would be like buying your boss a stapler for Christmas)
- Coupons to your services at a discount (that’s a reverse gift, where you get something)
- A thank-you email over 200 words
How about some good ideas?
- A handwritten letter — This meaningful gift is very low-budget, so we have no excuses for not giving something. Consider encouraging your children to participate, too.
- A favorite meal – I know from personal experience that pastors love to eat. Buy a gift card to their favorite restaurant. Cook a favorite meal. Order takeout on their behalf.
- Tickets — Pastors rarely are given the chance to go anywhere. Give them tickets to an event they would enjoy: a local professional sporting event, a concert by their favorite band, a Broadway production down in the city. Just make sure to check that the dates work with pastor’s schedule.
- Services — This is an opportunity to do something for them that they would never do for themselves, for example, a house cleaner, landscaper, tailor, consultant, or financial advisement. If you’re going to give them a gift or service that you offer, make it pro bono.
- A gift card — The beauty of the gift card as a gift is that pastors are forced to practice self-care — and they are notoriously bad at this. This is your opportunity to prompt pastors to do something good for themselves without feeling like they should spend it on someone else. If you do give a gift card, aim for something more than Starbucks, such as a massage, movie theater, or their favorite local restaurant.
- One Sunday off — Coordinate with your church leaders to pay for a speaker (or elder) to preach one Sunday during Pastor Appreciation Month.
- A weekend getaway — Someone in the community has a cabin or time-share somewhere that pastor could take advantage of. Let pastor know that he/she needs rest and time to decompress from church as much as anyone needs time away from work.
- A bonus check — In the corporate world, a bonus check is often 1%-5% of a person’s salary.
Remember, this October:
- Don’t skimp on Pastor Appreciation Month.
- Make it a month they will always remember.
- Focus on giving to your pastor, not getting from them.
- Ask somebody who knows them well what gifts they would enjoy most.
- Mobilize a large group of people to give a high-quality gift.
…and don’t forget the free $250 Amazon gift card.