This article will not focus on the question of “why have a Pastor Appreciation Day.” We believe a special day to honor those who are serving in leadership is a powerful boost to both leaders and laity.
The Bible tells us 1 Timothy 5:17 – Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
Just the other day, I read a post from a Pastor in a private group that shared his heartache after a board member approached him following a service. The news out of the deacon's mouth went something like this: “I'm sorry Pastor, we were supposed to recognize you today, but no one remembered to pick up a card or get a check written.”
Most Pastors would say “that's okay” and muster up a faint smile, then move on in silent heartbreak.
I realize the vast amount of people who will read this article are in fact, Pastors and I'm “preaching to the choir” so to speak. Many are not Pastors who can start the process to make sure Pastor's Appreciation Day is observed every year.
Below are a few steps to assist with the process. There are many more, but hopefully, this will speak to someone's heart to step out and be a blessing to your Pastor(s) and family.
1. FIND A PASSIONATE LEADER TO PLAN PASTOR APPRECIATION DAY
The person who provides the vision for the church and planning of events is the Pastor. While there may be a few Pastors who would be so bold as to plan their special day (I've seen it), most would not be comfortable in doing so.
Often some people have not only a place of influence within the church but want to see things done correctly and with passion.
First of all, nothing should be planned without communication and approval of the board, or elders or whoever may be in leadership (besides the Pastor). One can only imagine the nightmare of beginning to plan an exceptional day, and the board has approved the day.
If they don't approve it, then don't do it! You will cause your Pastor far more headaches than a few cards or dollars will soothe away.
I have often found that many churches would have a special day if they knew what to do and how to do it.
Find that point person who will do the research, get creative, and hit a “home run” with the day.
2. WHO WILL BE CELEBRATED ON PASTOR APPRECIATION DAY?
If there are multiple pastoral staff members, will all be celebrated in the same way? This is a question that each church must decide.
I know of a church right now that has multiple staff, and the ONLY one who is celebrated that day is the Senior Pastor. Perhaps that's okay, but why not take another day to honor the other Pastors if that's the case?
Another vital consideration in this matter is whether the Spouse will be recognized as well. Recently, there has been some initiative to have a Pastor's Wife Appreciation to be held in March. (LINK) If this is done, then perhaps honoring the Pastor only during Pastor's Appreciation would be acceptable, but if not, then be sure to honor the Spouse too!
The leader of the event may ask a lady to assist in planning a special way to bring honor to the Pastors' wife. This way, she will feel honored and encouraged too! She has a heavy burden quite often to be the encourager of the Pastor!
There are some great ideas on how to honor a Pastor's wife at this website:
3. SHARE THE NEWS WITH THE CONGREGATION
How can we get the word out about Pastor Appreciation Day you might ask?
WRITE A CHURCH LETTER OF INVITATION
Well, we're glad you asked because one of the most effective ways is to send a letter or email to the church congregation. We have a good selection of letters to use for invitations here.
If the day is a surprise, then you will be able to filter out the Pastors in the correspondence easily. Then again, it is quite tricky to pull off a surprise for the Pastor, but it can be accomplished!
USE SOCIAL MEDIA and TEXTING
Facebook has the option to create a private event, and you may want to get help from your resident teenager or tech/media expert. Make sure that you have any necessary permissions for some of these avenues, but they are a great way to get the word out quickly.
USE AN ALL-CALL PHONE SYSTEM
There are many great systems to use in which you can call large amounts of people within a matter of moments. We live in an environment which has a lot of snow in the winter. The system we use (Voiceshot) has come in quite handy many times as we've had to cancel or postpone events.
All of these things mentioned will most likely need to originate from or be coordinated by the church office team.
4. WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO HAVE PASTOR APPRECIATION DAY
While there are some Denominations and churches that will have it other times, generally, Pastor Appreciation Month is celebrated in October.
In this day of social media, it is a month that many Pastors see many posts about the day being celebrated at other churches. Even though the Pastor will most likely never say a word about it, rest assured, it's on their mind.
Most ministries and Christian organizations share far more about this special day in October than any other time. This helps to get the word out and get people to at least have a knowledge that “something” important is happening which they should want to be a part of.
Perhaps a church will choose to celebrate in some way for the entire month, but many will choose one day to have a major focus.
Bottom line: Just do it!
5. ENCOURAGE THE PEOPLE TO BLESS THE PASTOR(S) FINANCIALLY AND WITH WORDS
We often think of those who can be the most difficult as the standard of how people feel. Just because Mr. and Mrs. Sourface think such a day is not needed does NOT mean the rest of the people think that way!
Most people want to be a blessing to their Pastor and family. Give them the opportunity and let them know precisely how things will be done.
A couple of important things about the manner things happen financially:
– Offerings given personally either in cash or in a card are NOT taxable income.
– Money that flows through an offering is taxable income. It's a shame Uncle Sam must get a portion of the “love offering” too!
One of the reasons churches would receive an offering is if they are honoring more than one Pastor. Then, they would make sure the offering is divided up between Pastors.
Encourage the People to Bless with Words.
Most Pastors who have served for any amount of time find themselves on the receiving end of some discouraging words. Things that even might be thought to be a compliment can be a bit disheartening. “Pastor, you're finally starting to preach a lot better lately.” Yikes! Most likely, this will have him wondering what he was like before “lately”!
Be thankful for…
- the message on Sunday and share how it ministered to you.
- visiting your relative in the hospital or nursing home.
- being faithful.
The list could go on and on, but the people should be encouraged to share their appreciation verbally.
– By Card or Letter
Many people are far more comfortable sharing their thoughts in a card or letter. Some of my most memorable moments have been opening cards and reading words of appreciation written from the heart.
6. TAKE TIME TO RESEARCH WAYS TO CELEBRATE PASTOR APPRECIATION DAY
For the longest time, I felt that Pinterest was a site for the ladies. I've found it is jam-packed with great ideas complete with pictures!
Here's an article called “Want to make your Pastor's Day?” and could give you some great ideas to convey to the people on how to be a blessing to the Pastor.
Just doing a simple search on Pastor Appreciation Month will bring up great articles such as this one from Christianity Today.
Again, just do it! Have a great Pastor Appreciation Day!