October is a month for congregations to express their gratitude to their pastors and clergy leaders.
Since 1992 – when Clergy Appreciation Month was inaugurated by the non-profit group, Under His Wing Ministries, Inc. – October has brought joy to pastors and community members alike.
“It was a wonderful time, and I believe that not only was I strengthened and encouraged by all of this, but [church members] were blessed and encouraged by it, too,” a pastor from Texas testified in an online forum by Parsonage.org, a ministry of Focus on the Family. “There has been such an atmosphere of love and a very positive attitude in our congregation since then.”
“This past year has been tough on our church. We have struggled… This last month helped us get back on focus and on task.”
Over the years, the national holiday has grown more popular. The demand for gift cards has led Hallmark to print National Clergy Day cards since 2001.
“Your ministry has brought faith, strength, and healing to so many people. May God bless you for all you do in His name,” reads one Hallmark card.
There are more than one million full-time Christian ministry workers in the United States, including 350,000 senior pastors. Research shows that ministers are not immune to the pressures and stress of life today. Focus on the Family states that pastors and other clergy leaders “feel isolated, insecure, and only rarely affirmed.”
Christianity Today lists eight good will tasks that could lift a pastor’s day, including a suggestion to “Throw away the measuring stick.”
The Parsonage.org, meanwhile, has an online planning guide with suggestions on how to support clergy. The ministry states, “A simple card, an invitation to lunch, a promise to pray for them or an offer to babysit, wash a car or mow a lawn make wonderful statements.”
Whether it’s through a dinner invitation, a card, or a gift, the holiday strengthens pastors who carry burdens of an entire congregation. And don’t forget to include a sincere note with specific reasons you appreciate the minister’s spiritual leadership, dedication, time and commitment.
Here are 10 suggestions to celebrate your pastor:
1. Write Lots of Letters
2. Customize a T-shirt
3. Create Original Art
4. Place Your Church in a Frame
5. Purchase Helpful Bible Commentaries
6. Make a Video Presentation
7. Give Public Thanks
8. Do an Office Makeover
9. Supply Favorite Things (candies, ties, etc.)
10. Celebrate 31 Days of Appreciation
Honor God by honoring His servants, with a thoughtful, personalized encouragement that fits your unique church and pastor.