In 1992, Hallmark created Clergy Appreciation Day. Although there is one set date usually assigned for this, many churches and believers celebrate throughout the month of October. Most likely created to increase card sales,
the celebration provides opportunity to ponder the profession and remind people to support and show respect for the work they do.
Most pastors I know desire to see their parishioners come to a saving knowledge of Christ, develop an understanding of Scripture and how to apply it in their lives, and then use what they know to bless others. It is not an easy vocation.
The expectations placed on pastors creates a difficult road for them. Although they teach the Bible, they are no different than anyone else when it comes to walking out what they teach. The same irritations, troubles and people that all of us encounter, are part of their experience as well. Therefore, we should offer the same grace to pastors that we do to all other believers.
What are some ways can we demonstrate appreciation to these servants of God? On numerous occasions, I have asked pastors this question. The number one answer is prayer. They understand the power of prayer and feel supported and encouraged when they know others pray for them. What should be pray for our pastors? Here are a few prayer points:
1. Family and health
4. Financial provision
5. Unity in the congregation
6. Favor with God and man
7. For a supportive team to accomplish the work of the ministry
Additional ways to support our pastors include:
1. Volunteer in the church and follow through on that commitment
2. Do not participate in gossip
3. Speak encouraging, authentic words
4. Demonstrate respect
5. Pay attention to sermons. This may offer insights into what our pastor likes or could reveal their love language, a gift idea or an act of service they would appreciate.
6. Affirm them publicly
7. If we disagree with them on an issue or decision we believe to be important, talk with them privately and don’t share it with others. Stating “our case” publicly creates disunity in the church. We don’t want to be the catalyst for division and strife.
Let Clergy Appreciation prompt us to start (or continue) praying for our pastors, supporting and encouraging them. Just as Aaron and Hur assisted Moses by holding up his arms during the battle (see Exodus 17:12), we too can encourage and strengthen our spiritual leaders in the local church.