Clergy Appreciation Month is just around the corner!
In fact, October marks the 17th year we’ve been encouraging our friends to cherish and nurture their pastors. Why is this so important? Not long ago we conducted a survey of 2,000 pastors and found the majority are working more than 50 hours a week serving the body of Christ. It’s an invaluable and often thankless role, one that often puts an enormous strain on them and their family.
H.B. London, VP of Pastorial Ministries, and I recently talked about the special needs of pastors on the Focus on the Family broadcast. If you missed that conversation, you can listen here. I think you’ll appreciate H.B.’s heart for these servant leaders. The fact that H.B. faithfully served in the pulpit for several decades explains why he understands so well the needs of pastors—both yours and mine.
That said, I’d like to point you to H.B.’s new book entitled, Pause, Recharge, Refresh: Devotions to Energize a Pastor’s Day-to-Day Ministry. It makes a perfect gift for your pastor and it’s the first of 31 ways to show your pastor that he is loved, his sacrifices are valued, and his service is treasured.
These ideas are in no particular order of importance. Some are seasonally appropriate; most involve time rather than money although several may require you to pool your funds with others. Ready?
- Leave a handwritten “Thank You” note on his desk.
- Purchase $5 gift certificates for his kids to go to McDonald’s or other favorite restaurant.
- Get a Starbucks gift card for him—and one for his wife.
- Offer to bring over a home cooked meal.
- Give your pastor and his wife a regular date night by watching their kids. They desperately need some alone time.
- Arrange a weekend stay at a Bed & Breakfast for just the pastor and his wife.
- Ask, “Pastor, how can I help you personally today?”
- Pull weeds, rake leaves, mow his yard.
- Wash and wax the family car.
- Spring for an oil change and tire rotation.
- Make his family a favorite dessert.
- Buy a gift card to his favorite bookstore.
- Subscribe on his behalf to the Focus on the Family Pastor’s Weekly Briefing
- Do a “power shopping” of the basics—pasta, cereal, soup, soap, fresh fruit—yes, even toilet paper. Don’t forget a few chocolate treats!
- Pick up a copy of Pause, Recharge, Refresh by H.B. London and provide it with a note of encouragement.
- Give him game tickets to a sports event in town.
- There’s nothing like a night at the symphony—if there’s one locally, treat your pastor and his wife to a night of musical inspiration.
- If you’re handy with a paint brush, offer to spruce up a few rooms in his home as needed.
- If you have carpentry, roofing, or construction trade skills, give the gift of home maintenance. Fix that leaky faucet, tighten that toilet seat, even replace a few hard to reach overhead lights.
- Offer to visit the infirmed or sick so that the pastor can have an afternoon or evening off.
- Make a picnic lunch basket stocked with all of the goodies.
- Have your kids hand paint or draw a homemade banner for the pastor with a favorite scripture verse.
- Present your pastor’s wife with a certificate for a manicure and pedicure.
- Slip an anonymous dinner-for-two gift card in the offering plate with your pastor’s name on it.
- If your pastor’s wife has a newborn, offer to take care of the baby one morning. That’ll give her time to catch up on a few errands.
- Just in time for their anniversary, provide a complimentary overnight stay at a local hotel—and be sure to include some “mad” money!
- Give the gift of a “Spic-n-Span” house. Offer to do a deep cleaning—bathrooms, closets, bedrooms, dusting—the works.
- Invest in the pastor by investing in his children. Offer to take them for haircuts followed by an ice cream treat.
- With the help of your elders or leadership team, create a special Sunday service that serves as a “tribute” to him.
- Last but not least, give your pastor and his family an extra week off of vacation. A true vacation—one with no phone calls, no visitation, no weddings, no funerals, no counseling, no sermon preparation, no conflict resolution—nothing but a chance to rest, relax, reconnect with his family while restoring his soul.
Of course, these 31 ideas are far from exhaustive—my hope is that they’ll get your creative juices flowing. You’ll also find a host of other ideas and resources in this complimentary PDF download prepared by H.B.’s staff.
A final thought. Although H.B. is not currently serving as the pastor of a specific church, if the Lord puts it on your heart, why not include him in the Clergy Appreciation Month? Consider sending him a note thanking him for his work ministering to pastors.