Pastor Appreciation Month: Onset of October Inspires Congregational Creativity, Generosity
By Carl Stagner
Everyone needs a little encouragement now and then. Pastors, too. And, while the clergy among us certainly need expressions of appreciation throughout the year, the truth is that there’s something special about the month of October for many a minister. Though pastors aspire to serve with humility and gratitude for their God-given provisions, they, too, are human. They, too, feel loved when a parishioner gives them a pat on the back, an accolade or two, babysitting coverage for a date night, or a greeting card that has a word of encouragement—and perhaps a gift card to a local eatery! As the peak of fall color nears across the United States and Canada, signs of peak creativity and generosity suggest congregations are already busy showing how much they appreciate their pastors.
Not every church has a knack for demonstrating appreciation of their senior shepherd (and associates), so perhaps this article may serve as a gentle prodding. Pastor Appreciation Month—also known as Clergy Appreciation Month (don’t forget clergy whose ministry setting isn’t the local church!)—comes each October, inspiring congregations everywhere to do something above and beyond the norm to remind their spiritual leaders just how much they care.
Without giving away names and places, some Church of God congregations are choosing in 2022 to surprise their pastors with gifts made possible only through collective efforts and donations. Some individuals have posted several days’ worth (or planned daily posts throughout October) of “shout-outs” to pastors who have made a difference in their lives. Some churches have spread out their expressions of appreciation to last through the entire month with varying emphases—first Sunday, the pastor; second, the pastor’s spouse; third, the pastor’s children; and fourth, the pastor’s marriage.
One South Carolina congregation held a luncheon the first Sunday of the month, and attendees were asked to bring gifts and gift cards. A Georgia church used social media to compile comments and words of encouragement for their pastors. A Kentucky church set aside time in an early October worship service to recite a poem about the tremendous value of pastors, then proceeded to present him with tokens of appreciation. Another Kentucky congregation has scheduled an ice cream social in honor of their pastor. A Florida church has big plans to celebrate their pastors later this month; in the meantime, they’ve provided their congregants a daily prayer guide designed for intercession on behalf of their pastors.
Resources available to help whole churches and individuals appreciate their pastors in tangible ways are plentiful and easily accessible. A variety of authors, churches, and organizations have suggested ideas from the simplest of gifts to the most complex and lavish of blessings. The following are ideas that cover the spectrum of style, cost, and creativity. Perhaps one, two, or more will inspire you to bless you pastor this month and always.
- Special love offerings
- Gift cards to favorite restaurants
- A coordinated “greeting card” shower of notes from congregants
- Baked goods (store-bought if you don’t have a culinary gift!)
- Lodging for a pastor-and-spouse getaway (don’t bug them while they’re away!)
- Consider Full Strength Network, which offers several retreat centers to pastors free or at a reduced rate!
- Auto maintenance and repair
- Parsonage/home repair and beautification
- Treating your pastor and his family to a meal out
- Packing your pastor’s freezer with staple foods (be sure they like such foods!)
- Texting or emailing your pastor on late Sunday or early Monday to say, “Thank you!”
- Commit to praying regularly for them
- Utilizing your spiritual gifts for the benefit of the pastor and local church!
Want more ideas? A few years ago, we created this handy how-to guide for Pastor Appreciation Month. Check out our practical Steps 1 through 5 at https://www.jesusisthesubject.org/guide-pastor-appreciation-month/. Additional resources can be obtained at the much-acclaimed www.blessyourpastor.org.
Learn more about the Church of God movement at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.
Feature (top) graphic courtesy www.churchmediasquad.com.