Sunday, October 14, 2007

October is Pastor Appreciation Month

Yeah, I know. I'm a pastor's wife and it's probably bad form to be talking about Pastor / Clergy Appreciation Month (which is right now, by the way).

I'm going to blog about it anyway.

My dear hubby has been in full time ministry since 1983. Of the past 24 years of ministry, only the past three years have been spent as a solo pastor of a small but growing church. The rest of the time was spent as a youth pastor. None of it has been what I'd call easy, but it is really fun for us now as some of our old youth group kids are coming to visit us at our church, bringing along their kids. Yeah, I'm feeling a little OLD.

Over the years people have asked me how they might show appreciation for their pastors. From my perspective, the best way to show appreciation is to verbalize it in some way, and then act with integrity and grace consistently, even when your pastor messes up (which he will!)

Here's an excerpt from a great article with very practical ways in which you can show your pastor appreciation.

So, how should we honor our Pastors during Pastor Appreciation Month? Well, to start with, honor them during the other 11 months of the year, as well. That’s the whole premise of my original column on the subject. Your Pastor has unique needs, so pray over it, get creative, and let the Lord lead you. Here are twenty specific ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

1. Ask him if you can go along on those Hospital and Shut-in visits.

2. Discover your Spiritual Gifts, and actually DO something with them in your church.

3. When you see him on Wednesday, tell him about the new insights you have as a result of meditating on last Sunday’s sermon.

4. Meditate on last Sunday’s sermon.

5. Grow up.

6. Anonymously (if possible) leave his favorite candy bar on his desk or in his mail slot.

7. Invite him to go fishing, golfing, or some other shared interest -- without an agenda.

8. Call him on the phone and ask what his prayer needs are.

9. Actually pray for his needs after he tells you what they are.

10. If he’s married, call his wife and do #8 and #9

11. If he’s not married, quit trying to "fix him up" with someone.

12. Mow his lawn -- anonymously -- while he’s away from home.

13. Ask him how you can help him.

14. Actually help him after he answers #13.

15. Quit complaining.

16. Compliment him when he does things right.

17. Say "Amen!" (at the appropriate times) while he’s preaching. Saying "Amen" to a preacher is like saying "sic ‘em" to a dog.

18. Hug him and tell him you love him.

19. If he’s married, send his wife flowers and a thank you note -- she plays an important support role. Also see #11

20. Now that you’ve read this list, actually do some of it -- now.

(article by Dan Case)

How to be Heard by Your Pastor (or Your Spouse, or Boss, or Parents, or...) the Other 11 Months of the Year
For some reason, people seem to think they know what their pastor does on a daily/weekly/monthly basis, and better ways in which he can do it. I don't know of any other profession, except perhaps sports coaches or the presidency, where we think we really know better than they do how they need to do their jobs. If I might gently toss in my two cents' worth, I'd like to ask those of you who do have better ways for your pastors to do things to bring your recommendations to them in the following ways:

  • TIMING - When you are bringing your ideas to the pastor, is he in the middle of something else? Is he trying to counsel someone, or in the middle of doing some sort of task or responsibility? Most people want to talk to my hubby right after church, which is fine. He loves people. But he can't possibly get to everyone who wants to talk to him on Sundays. Your pastor is undoubtedly in the same situation. Watch your timing. If he's surrounded by people wanting to talk to him after service, then send him an email or voice mail requesting a time to meet. Don't butt-in; don't be rude. I guarantee that if you think about your timing, you may very well end up with a favorable meeting with your pastor where he will be more relaxed and receptive to your comments than if you try to grab him before or after church.

  • NO BACK-DOORING What in the world does that mean? It means if you have something to say to the pastor, then say it to the pastor, not to his wife, his friends, your church friends. Be brave and honest. Pray and ask the Lord to help you have the courage to talk face-to-face rather than behind his back. It will go much better for you if you are up-front and honest. Going to others first will be perceived as gossiping, and your cause, even if it is noble, will most likely be disregarded.

  • TONE - My mom's wisdom is best described in two words: "Be nice." When you go to talk to your pastor about some issue, whether it's positive or negative, how's your tone of voice? How about your facial expression? Do you look like you've been baptized in vinegar? Is your voice on edge? Every pastor is a human, and no human enjoys getting "talked at" by anyone, even if their idea is fantastic or their concerns are legitimate. Speak to your pastor in the way in which you want others to speak to you. Think about how you would feel if your pastor showed up at your workplace and started telling you better ways to do your job... yeah. I'm not saying you shouldn't talk to your pastor - I'm just saying that if you want to be heard, pray much about what you want to say, then say it with grace, gentleness, and self-control. It is much easier to be heard when the one to whom you're speaking isn't on the defensive.

Those are just my little tips which are effective in many situations, not just in dealing with pastors. Try them when you speak to your husband or wife, or your children, or the cashier at the grocery store. You will be amazed at how much a little diplomacy can do to help you be heard.

Happy Clergy Appreciation Month!

1 comment:

  1. Once again, Mx5, you have hit right where the Lord is already at work!

    It is so easy to gripe and complain about what the pastor is doing wrong. The Lord has been showing my DH and I that the church leadership/congregation role is very similar to the husband/wife role in marriage. The submissive party (congregation, wife) needs to support the leader (pastor/elders, husband). If the submissive one disagrees with the leadership it is ok to LOVINGLY voice an opinion, however if another direction is taken, then submitting to leadership is submitting to God's authority. The leader is responsible before God in that decision. Of course the best example of this type of harmonious relationship is the Trinity. Different roles functioning in unity.

    Again, thanks for the great tips and reminders.