Honoring pastors and other church leaders has been a respected practice since the days of the early church. It reflects the mandate found in 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 to "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."
October is designated as Clergy Appreciation Month. This celebration provides parents with the opportunity to model gratitude, while helping their kids recognize that God has entrusted pastors with the responsibility to oversee the spiritual well-being of His flock.
Modeling gratitude does not have to be an enormous production. You can send a card, cook a meal, buy a gift or offer your skills and services to help do work around the pastor's house. Here are a few additional ideas:
- Send the pastor and spouse a gift certificate to visit a bed-and-breakfast.
- Invite the pastor for a game of golf, tennis, etc., and pay any playing fees.
- Give prepaid tickets to activities especially enjoyed by your pastor and his or her family.
As your kids notice what you are doing, it's important to help them recognize all that a pastor does for the congregation. Talk about the pastor's many responsibilities and the hours these tasks require. Explain to your kids that when a pastor is weary, his work in the church may be ineffective. Once kids understand that honoring our clergy helps to minimize pastoral stress, they may realize that what they do for their clergy can encourage them to persevere through the challenges of serving the body of Christ.
The following is a list of ideas to help you get your kids involved in affirming your pastor. You and your family can show your appreciation to your pastoral staff by doing the following:
- Write your favorite Scripture verses in a journal that the pastor can read whenever he needs inspiration or encouragement.
- Give your pastor a coupon that is good for one night of free baby-sitting.
- Work on the church building: Clean classrooms, tidy up the sanctuary, mow the church lawn or do general maintenance work.
- Put together a care package with coupons, gift certificates, sweets and treats, and individually packaged items.
- Write a note of appreciation to your pastor and your pastor's spouse.
- Pray for your pastor and your pastor's family.
- Participate in any needed renovations to your pastor's home. There are almost always home improvements that pastors need but cannot afford and do not have the skill or time to accomplish.
- Plan an evening celebration to bless your pastor. It can be a potluck dinner, a bonfire extravaganza or a simple get-together with coffee and desserts.
Regardless of how you choose to honor your pastoral staff, don't miss the opportunity to make Clergy Appreciation Month a regular event for your family. Not only will you bless your pastor, but you will also model for your children an attitude of gratitude and respect for those who serve throughout the year.