Clergy Appreciation Month is almost here. Throughout the month of October, Clergy Appreciation Month is celebrated each year. We'll take a look at what it is, how it is celebrated, and what you can do to create engagement within your congregation.
Pastor Appreciation Month: What Is It?
As of 2018, there are approximately more than 50,000 clergy members in the United States. They work hard to build the church, create membership, and engage with the members in a way that is thoughtful and appreciated.
Clergy Appreciation Month is 31 days set aside to honor the service of a variety of members of the church clergy. From pastors and priests to ministers and reverends, it is a way to honor those people. Within this month of appreciation is a special day set aside called Clergy Appreciation Day. This day is especially significant because it focuses on one specific date where prayers are sent out on a national level to pay tribute to clergy members and even their staff members.
The History of Pastor Appreciation Month
Found in 1 Timothy 5:17 is where some of the origins of this month were founded. It follows the guidelines of St Paul who advised the congregation to give special honor to the clergy members. Double honor are the keywords mentioned in this verse:
The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.
It is found further in 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 where Paul states:
Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for 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.
According to Christianity:
In 1994, the American Christian organization Focus on the Family began promoting Clergy Appreciation Month as a national month of observance. In highlighting Clergy Appreciation Month, Focus on the Family sought to encourage the faithful to outwardly show their appreciation for religious leaders on a national level.
Why Is It Celebrated?
There are quite a few reasons to celebrate the hard work of the clergy of the church.
For one, pastors and clergy are there for their congregation. Whether it is being there in a time of crisis or uplifting the congregation in prayer and praise each week (and more), we depend on our clergy for inspiration and comfort.
How Are Clergy Members Celebrated During This Month?
How the clergy is celebrated and honored during Clergy Appreciation Month certainly depends on the members of the church. Yet, here are a few ways that members have been able to pay special attention to their beloved pastors:
- Sometimes something as simple as a thoughtful card is enough – especially for those who do not have money or time to donate. Even Hallmark has gotten in on the holiday by providing Clergy Appreciation cards since 2002. But according to some, it was as far back as 1992 when Hallmark created the date. While this may seem like a marketing ploy on Hallmark's part, it is actually an important date that allows members to show how much they care about their pastors.
- Take up donations for new office items for the clergy like a new chair or an updated computer. Even something as simple as an ergonomic keyboard is thoughtful and relevant.
- Volunteering is always a thoughtful reminder to your clergy that their work is important enough for you to take part in.
- Gift baskets filled with the clergy member's favorite things is a good idea. Whether it's coffee, snacks, fruit, or even a gift card tree, these are often inexpensive ways to show you care and appreciate their hard work.
- Have a photograph made of the congregation or the church where the clergy member works and present it as a framed gift to hang in their home or office.
Of course, there are gifts that you may want to skip. For example, if you were to give a book to your pastor that you wanted him to read, he might think that he has some kind of shortcoming. If you do gift a book, make sure it is not reflective of how you believe that the church can be better ran.
The same thing goes for gifting a Bible. While a special dedicated Bible may be a perfect gift, keep in mind that your clergy member probably has many Bibles already.
Show Your Appreciation
The point is that you want to show your appreciation and while this should be done all year long, this special month (and day) is a way of showing special attention to all that your clergy does for you and the congregation. Make it a thoughtful gift, one that comes from your heart.
One of the best ways to show appreciation is doing it as a while. If you can gather the members of the congregation together to celebrate this day and month, all the better. No matter how you do it, make sure you celebrate Clergy Appreciation Month and show your pastor how much their work means to you and the church.