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DYK - October is Pastor Appreciation Month

Posted: October 5 2021 at 03:39 PM
Author: Rev. Arlene Christopherson, Asst. to the Bishop/Dir. of Connectional Ministries


When I hear stories about National Pizza Day or Grandparents' Day, I have to admit I'm cynical. I'm not cynical about grandparents or pizza; it's just the idea that we need to celebrate every single thing for a day or week or month. I think of it as a marketing tool for product sales and greeting card companies.

However, I am softening my cynicism to talk about October's focus on "National Clergy Appreciation Month." There is no product being promoted here, although you might find a rare greeting card. The concept is traced back in the New Testament and the Apostle Paul, who wrote in 1st Timothy 5:17, "Elders who lead well should be paid double, especially those who work with public speaking and teaching."The modern-day observance was established in 1992 with a mission of "uplifting and encouraging pastors, missionaries and religious workers."

Leading through the murky uncertainties in a pandemic world has taken its toll on all of us. From medical personnel to first responders, teachers, and even preachers, the work of offering grounded, balanced care for our constituencies when we have no roadmap has been an incredible act of heroism.

While spending time with a group of pastors a few weeks ago, I was caught up in laughter and energetic conversations – and realized I haven't heard anything like that for over a year. What I learned, as I listened, is that this group was so grateful to be together, to see and meet and share, that many were overwhelmed with joy.

Life has been tough. Each year our pension and health benefits agency Wespath releases a clergy wellbeing survey. This year their findings indicate that clergy are struggling. The survey looks at 5 dimensions: physical, emotional, social, spiritual and financial health. The only factor of these 5 dimensions that was stable is finances. Clergy health has declined, depression and isolation, even faltering faith were reflected in the findings.

We cannot wave a magic wand and make all the factors challenging anyone's wellbeing go away. Perhaps this year is the right year to observe "Clergy Appreciation Month."Who doesn't appreciate a word of encouragement, an acknowledgment that life has been hard, or a congregational "hip-hip hurray."

How can you and your congregation offer thanksgiving and encouragement to your pastor? It doesn't take a lot of money to make someone feel appreciated. It just takes some intentionality. Flowers, a dinner certificate, a homemade dessert, a congregational card shower, a bulletin board filled with sticky notes offering words of gratitude. These are just a few examples of how you can reach out and show your appreciation. Your pastor will surely appreciate it! 

For some pandemic-proof ways to say 'thank you', click here.
For more  ideas, click here

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