October 9th will soon be upon us, are you ready? A brief history shows that while Pastors have been especially acknowledged by congregants since the time of the Apostle Paul, it wasn’t until thirty years ago, in 1992, that National Clergy Appreciation Month (also known as Pastor Appreciation Month) and Pastor Appreciation Day was officially woven into the fabric of our society. In honor of this, we’ve sorted through and organized the ultimate guide to pastor appreciation day to help you know how to best honor them.
Love Them Well.
The concept of brotherly love that unites believers is unique to Christianity. Jesus said in John 13:35 that philia (love) would be an identifier of his followers. Show your love to your Pastor by showing up, filling in the gaps, and being willing to serve. Ideas for pastor appreciation start with and are born from love and respect for the calling of your Pastor.
This is about what we do in spite of what’s going on in our personal lives and how we are feeling. Being intentional is key and sets the tone for your day and for those around you as you press into the power of Romans 15:13. Pastoral appreciation month is a joyous time where congregants brainstorm and shower gifts as tokens of gratitude.
Make Every Effort for Peace.
Please do not mistake peace with a passive connotation. In fact, the concept of peace in the Old Testament primarily refers to wholeness, total health, and total welfare. In the New Testament, peace is also used several ways, including as a greeting, in absence of war or chaos, as in a right relationship with God and people, and peace as individuals.
It begins with our own heart’s decision in Hebrews 12:14 and then translates to others in our church, community and places of business.
Patience is Key.
Isn’t it interesting that when we consider patience, the beginning of Ephesians 4:2 points out that we are to first “be completely humble and gentle” before we bear with one another in love? There’s a sermon in here, I know it. Looking in the mirror and recognizing our own nature and need for our Savior and how His kindness leads us to repentance is how we develop and cultivate patience for others.
Kindness Does a Body Good.
The older we get, the more we understand the sayings, “It’s the thought that counts.” And “It is better to give than to receive.” Random acts of kindness have been culturally popular from time to time. Most recently, kindness was on full display during the pandemic. Crises can unite people and help us focus on what matters. Let’s not wait for a “reason” to be kind- it should just bubble up and out of us toward others. The Bible says in Proverbs 16:24 that “Kind words are like honey — sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Commit to kindness not only for pastor appreciation day but also in the days, weeks, and months to follow.
Seize the Opportunity to do Good.
Paul encourages us in Galatians 6:8-10 to live to please the Spirit and not to satisfy our own sinful natures. This means that no matter what- how we feel or even how others treat us – we simply cannot get tired of doing good. This is another call to concentrate on living outside of ourselves to point others to God by letting our lights shine wherever we can. Pastors are known for going above and beyond in ways that we see and so many more that we don’t. Show your pastor appreciation for that beautiful characteristic.
Proverbs 3:3-4 says to “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck and write them on the tablet of your heart.” Faithfulness comes from a place of trust and loyalty. This is where our personal relationship with Christ is demonstrated- in our ability to be loyal and faithful. Don’t miss this- as we put on the armor of God, our shields of faith are not fastened to our bodies like the breastplates of righteousness or the helmets of salvation. The shield of faith is an outward form of protection, yes, and the physical extension of it fuels and strengthens our inward faithfulness.
Aim for Gentleness.
There’s strength in gentleness as it moves hearts, brings restoration and reveals wisdom. The imagery of Philippians 4:5 is critical. When you think someone is near, does that impact your response? What if someone was soon to arrive, would that change your words or actions? “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” As Christians, Christ is always near so let our aim be true.
Self Control Guides the Way.
Rising above the situation and personal feelings involves developing a thoughtful response that is guided by reason more than emotions. This is self-control. Treating others the way you would like to be treated per Luke 6:31 is self-control. Being Followers of the Way is not always easy. But with the help of the Holy Spirit and a lot of grace, we will persevere.
Looking at this list, you’re probably thinking, “Wait, these are the fruits of the Spirit. This is what my Pastor wants for pastor appreciation day?” The answer is surprising, yes. Your Pastor would like nothing more than for the church body to reflect the fruits of the Spirit. What a gift indeed! The Message translation of the Bible shares Joel 2:12-14 as “God’s personal message!” The practice of tearing one’s clothes was the outward expression of sorrow, grief, and loss. Joel, much like our Pastors, is underlining the importance of changing our lives- beginning with the examination and tearing of our hearts- and submitting to God who “is kind and merciful, The One who takes a deep breath, puts up with a lot, This most extravagant in love, always ready to cancel catastrophe.”
Carol has worked in the ACST Marketing department and managed most aspects of marketing over the last 20 years. Before ACST, she spent many years handling marketing for companies across the US. These include Novell, WordPerfect, Purolator Courier, ArtToday.com, and U.S.News & World Report. Carol is a cradle Catholic who has been active her entire life – a long time! She has served in volunteer positions within her parish, including formation instructor, lector, code red responder, and numerous other volunteer roles.