“Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.” (1 Timothy 5:17 - ESV)
Once again, it is Clergy Appreciation Month. Every October since 1994, faithful churchgoers everywhere go out of their way to honor the men and women who preach and teach the word of God.
There are many scripture verses in the Bible that stress the importance of appreciating, loving and respecting those who have been chosen by God to proclaim His word. It should not be a one-month celebration, but a year-round thing.
The Apostle Paul realized that these men and women of God work nonstop to complete their God-given assignment. He said, “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.” A minister himself, Paul could write such a statement because he was familiar with the many challenges God’s soldiers encounter.
The purpose of Clergy Appreciation Month is to remind congregants that it is right and proper to honor their pastors and the pastors’ families not only in October, but throughout the year.
As a church member, your kindness and support can help brighten a pastor’s day and serve to lighten their loads a little. If your church has never given the pastor an appreciation program, October is an opportune time to do so.
Let your pastor know what he or she means to you. Telling your pastor how much you appreciate him or her is great, but they will reap greater benefits and blessings when you show them. Moreover, you will also reap blessings by showing them.
There are so many ways you can express your gratitude. The list is endless, but practical things — such as monetary gifts, movie and play tickets, an all-expenses-paid mini vacation, gift certificates, gas cards and assistance with household maintenance and yard work — often are the most appreciated gifts. You also could offer to drive your pastor to various engagements, invite your pastor and his or her family over for dinner or take them out for a meal.
However, the best gift you can give your pastor cannot be paid for with money. The simple gift of being a faithful, dedicated, loyal and trustworthy church member is the greatest gift one can give.
Volunteer your services to help build up the ministry — don’t tear it down. When you build up a pastor, you build up a church. When you build up a church, you build up the kingdom of God. Likewise, when you tear down the pastor, you tear down the church. When you tear down the church, you tear down the kingdom of God.
Since spiritual leaders face so much hardship in today’s society, observing Clergy Appreciation Month is one way church members can counter the negative factors in spiritual leaders’ lives. This month’s celebration is a chance to encourage pastors to continue the work they have been assigned.
By serving clergy members, you help to encourage them and make them feel appreciated. When they feel appreciated, they will be inspired to continue ministering with enthusiasm, love, compassion and energy.
Continue to pray for spiritual leaders and their families as they strive to do the work of the ministry and build the kingdom of God.