by Anita Miles
And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.
As a preface to this post, we would like to give a great big thank you to the Pastor’s wife who volunteered her time and energy to give us this insight that we’re about to share with you! She has been a supporter of our ministry attempts since the very beginning and always has a good word and big hugs for us! Sis, we appreciate you more than you know! This is a collaborative effort and we (Pursuing Virtue) do not take credit for the ideas offered.
On a personal note - as the one who gets to put some structure to this post - what we’re about to delve into is very personal to me, as I was born and raised in a pastor’s home. Until you have seen the day in and day out of what happens at the Shepherd’s house, it’s complicated to fully appreciate! The weekly Sunday night struggles of the Shepherd - after the PA system has been powered down, the lights turned off, and the parking lot cleared out - can oftentimes be B-R-U-T-A-L!!! When he settles in for the evening - away from the crowd, there’s a rehash of thoughts of the day and the other events of the week. Just to name a few: there are the sheep who were missing...why they were missing...who seemed to have the “look” that they were aloof....who needed to critique the sermons, the theology, the temperature of the church, the volume of the microphones, and anything else you can think of… This does not take into account the devastating events that take place that are separate from the nit-picky stuff! Ministry is HARD work!!
Working with people is hard in general, but when you throw in the label of Christian people - it takes things to a whole new level. Some people aren’t very good at acting like the Christians they claim to be! Frankly and unfortunately, the negative input given to pastors probably often far outweighs the positive.
Without belaboring the point, I’m sure that most of you know that October is observed by many as “Pastor’s Appreciation Month.” It’s a very thoughtful and wonderful idea, but sometimes awkward and a little uncomfortable to your leadership. If “Pastor Appreciation” has always been a bit of a complex event for you, here are a few helpful ideas to make that day special:
Acknowledge the day. If this is being celebrated at your church. Be in attendance & participate.
Bring a card or gift. Taking time to write encouraging words in a card. It cost very little.... but means the world.
Show kindness to their children of all ages, they sow daily into all of your children. Many haved moved far away from family to serve your congregation. Make them feel like part of yours.
If your pastor has small children, offer to keep them one night while he and his wife go on a date!
A little goes a long way. It’s pleasing to the Lord to show honor where its due.
Speak positively of your church. Don’t be the person who is known for running down your fellow church members and your pastor.
Make your pastor’s family a keepsake photo book of the memories they’ve created or made with your congregation.
Ultimately their greatest Joy...is that you walk in Truth in Christ.
On a side note...there are some who make a deliberate statement on days like this as a reminder of a lack of respect or support. Make sure this isn’t you!!
As a final thought…you can spend all of your resources on fancy speakers, dinners, etc. All of that is wonderful and appreciated, but why not once in a while, do a special gift from the church (not the individual people) for a getaway or something special like that!
Now I know that somebody’s eyes just bugged out at reading that final thought...I just know people and the thought of spending money like that is just not something you want to do or just flat refuse to do. But there’s someone else out there who just had a lightbulb go off in their head and said, “now that’s a great idea! Let’s put some feet on that idea for our pastor - pastoring us is hard work and he and his family deserve it!” This post is just for you!
Renting a cabin for your pastor in the woods on the river or the lake for a few nights with some grocery money thrown in probably wouldn’t break your church! Some pastors prefer a getaway of solitude. Others may enjoy getting lost in the noise of a place like New York City for a few days! Wouldn’t it be fun to take the initiative to find them a nice hotel for a few nights and fly them up there? However, before taking action of this nature, I would suggest you inquire to see what they would enjoy the most!
I don’t know…maybe the greatest thing you can give your pastor for Pastor Appreciation is to change your way of thinking and the need to have all of your opinions heard! That may be better than anything you could wrap up with a bow!
My husband and I were both raised in a pastor’s home, so we have built our lives around the philosophy that we will not be part of our pastor’s problems! We don’t have the stress of living in the realm of all the negativity, and our pastor doesn’t have to waste his energy on worrying about what we’re going to do next! I’m pretty sure he can use that energy somewhere else... We give honor to Bro. Ryan, Sis. Beth and their family and believe that he is God’s man - assigned to lead and feed our family!
So what do you say? Let’s let our pastors know that we appreciate their calling and their hard work!
Pastors’ wives and daughters - we are interested in hearing from you as well! What are some of the special ways that your church family has made you feel loved and appreciated? We would love to hear your thoughts! Hearing what made you feel special may inspire someone to do the same for their pastor and family!
We’re in this thing together! Our churches are strongest when are pastors are strong! As the sheep he leads, we have the ability to make sure that we do our part to keep him that way. Let’s be the wind in their sails that allows them to catch a new fresh wind and a vision to move forward and progress the kingdom of God!
These are just a few thoughts from a Shepherd’s wife and daughter…