Thursday, October 8, 2009

6 Ways to Appreciate Your Pastor

October is National Clergy Appreciation Month.  Did you know? I had forgotten about it until a friend handed me a card on Sunday. I used to think this was just my denomination, but I've discovered it's broader than that.

Pastors and their families need you. Pastors and their families live in a unique world. They are called by God and willingly, joyfully serve Him. But that calling can place unusual stresses in their lives. Like doctors, fire fighters and other emergency professionals a pastor is on call 24/7. Balancing the needs of a congregation who needs him at sometimes odd hours and family who need him just as much can be taxing and at times, conflicting.

Take a little time this month to show your pastors and their families the appreciation they so deserve.  Here are a few (mostly frugal) suggestions.

1. Pray for him and his family. Pray for his relationship with God. Pray for his relationship with his wife. Pray for wisdom and discernment, for strength and energy. There is absolutely nothing you can do for your pastor that is more important than to pray for him. It is incredibly powerful. And as an added bonus - it's free too!

2. Send a card or note. Put your thoughts in writing. Over the years we have kept many cards of encouragement from friends. During the tough times, we especially like to re-visit these.

3. Use the gifts God gave you. Can you cook? Take a dish to his family. Are you tech savvy? Maybe he (or his wife) needs a bit of help with a computer problem. Is your hubby a handyman? Perhaps there's something in their home that needs fixing.

4. Personalized Gift Cards. This one correlates to #3. Maybe there isn't a problem with his computer or household problem to be fixed right now. Maybe an extra meal isn't in your schedule or budget this month. How about a homemade gift card for a few hours of your time in fixing a future problem?

5. The fruits of your labor. Do you have a flower or vegetable garden? Use it to bless and encourage your pastor's family. Most pastors live frugal lives, they truly appreciate when you brighten their homes or fill their fridge with the products from your garden. Do this wisely.  Call ahead and ask about the produce they would like to have; not every family enjoys the swiss chard you planted, but they might enjoy some extra zucchini.

6. Give the gift of time. Does your pastor have younger children? There is a high likelihood that time alone together with his wife, without his children is a rare commodity. Can you (or your teenager) babysit their kids while they go out to dinner? If you can't go to their house what about keeping the children at your house? This may be more appreciated than you'll ever know.

There are many other ways you can show appreciation to your pastor. Two of the more common, but less frugal ways are to give a gift card to a restaurant or take he and his wife to dinner.

Whatever you choose to do I'd like to make some suggestions as you are planning.
  • Don't forget his wife. She sacrifices time with her husband in ways few in the congregation will ever know or understand. Give her the love and respect she needs as well.
  • Don't forget the "junior" pastors - Worship Pastors, Youth Pastors, and the like. Although they aren't always under the same kind of scrutiny, their lives can be just as interrupted as a Senior Pastor's.
  • Don't assume the church board is taking care of this. Be proactive and be personal. Nothing says appreciation more than your own personal touch.

More good suggestions for encouraging your pastor can be found here at Christianity Today.

For more ideas on living frugally, visit LifeAsMom.


Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...

I had no idea it was this month! Thanks for the reminder!


Our 3 pastors are fabulous and I want to do something nice.

Monica said...

These are all really great tips. Your prayers and the fact that you are thinking of them mean so much!


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