October designated Clergy Appreciation Month
Published 7:30 am Sunday, October 2, 2022
October has been designated as Clergy Appreciation Month to show gratitude toward the ministers who unselfishly serve in the local church and our communities.
Why should we honor our clergy? Pastors, preachers, and ministers – whatever we call them – “God has entrusted to them one of the most precious assignments – the spiritual well-being of His flock,” states Focus on the Family, who began emphasizing Clergy Appreciation Month in 1994.
They encourage churches to honor the clergy and their families throughout the year, not just in October. Ministers and their families live in a glass house, so to speak. As the daughter of a minister, I grew up in one of those houses. They live with unrealistic expectations – whether self-imposed or congregation-imposed – that other church members often would not place on themselves.
“As pastors and their families try to please the God who called them to ministry while also trying to meet the expectations of their congregation, one result is dangerous stress. In fact, 75 percent of those ministers surveyed reported experiencing a significant stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry,” Focus on the Family reports.
It’s biblical to honor those in ministry. 1 Thessalonians 5:12 – 13 reads, “Now we ask you, brothers, 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. Live in peace with each other. (NIV)”
Your church’s minister and their family could use an extra pat on the back. Here are some ideas for honoring them. Host a card shower by asking members and friends to either purchase a card or prepare a home-made card to say “Thank You.” Plan a night of recognition with a special ceremony and banquet meal, or maybe a church picnic. Write a letter to your newspaper or display a banner or church sign to express your appreciation publicly.
There are other tangible ways to honor your clergy such as a special time of prayer, a gift certificate to a restaurant or invitation to enjoy a meal with your family. Other suggestions include allowing time off for relaxation and restoration. Give your minister permission to dream and permission to lead.
I once read this somewhat humorous description published in a book by Richard DeHaan. “A good pastor must have: the strength of an ox, the tenacity of a bulldog, the daring of a lion, the wisdom of an owl, the harmlessness of a dove, the industry of a beaver, the gentleness of a sheep, the versatility of a chameleon, the vision of an eagle, the hide of a rhinoceros, the perspective of a giraffe, the endurance of a camel, the bounce of a kangaroo, the stomach of a horse, the disposition of an angel, the loyalty of an apostle, the faithfulness of a prophet, the tenderness of a shepherd, the fervency of an evangelist, the devotion of a mother, and still he could not please everybody!”
Take time “to recognize and encourage those whom God has called to proclaim His message and lead His people.”
— Jan White has compiled a collection of her columns in her book, “Everyday Faith for Daily Life.”