Of course you already knew that October is Clergy Appreciation Month. If you’re wondering whether to bother observing it this year or not, Parsonage.org offers their reasons why you should:
Pastors and their families live under incredible pressures. Their lives are played out in a fishbowl, with the entire congregation and community watching their every move. They are expected to have ideal families, to be perfect people, to always be available, to never be down and to have all the answers we need to keep our own lives stable and moving forward. Those are unrealistic expectations to place on anyone, yet most of us are disappointed when a pastor becomes overwhelmed, seems depressed, lets us down or completely burns out.
I’m one of the lucky clerypersons who gets a lot of appreciation already. My ministry here in the Palo Alto church is primarily with children and teens, so I get hugs and warm smiles and friendly waves from dolls and stuffed animals nearly every week, and it doesn’t get any better than that. On top of that, the lay leaders here in Palo Alto are supportive and appreciative and just plain good folks. But what is true of me is not true of every clergyperson. So maybe it’s worth considering whether your clergyperson needs appreciation or not.
If you decide to appreciate your clergyperson, the Parsonage.org Web site has a few suggestions. Below are three additional suggestions:
- If you are moved by a sermon, tell your clergyperson so. (Three years ago, someone told me that one of my sermons changed her life, and just thinking about that improves my mood — wow! someone actually listened to me! and paid attention! and that was a good thing for them!)
- If you are a lay leader and you think your clergyperson is looking stressed, call them up and ask if things are OK. (Thanks Kathy, it made all the different when you did.)
- If your clergypseron does something worth thanking them for, send a thank-you note. You know, a physical note, using paper technology. (I keep every thank-you note I have ever received from a parishioner, and every year or so I re-read them and have warm memories of the people who sent them.)
As I said, I don’t need any extra appreciation this month, and yes I will delete your comment if you try to appreciate me here. Furthermore, I figure you’re a responsible human being, and can figure out on your own if your clergyperson needs your appreciation or not. (Note to Palo Alto folks: Just a reminder that Amy’s a good preacher, and it would be good practice to tell her when her sermons move you.)