When to Appreciate

I said I was an ideas person. I didn’t say I was a GOOD ideas person.

Perhaps I would have been better off if I had floated the idea with the good folk at Hallmark. These same folk created Clergy Appreciation Day in 1992… but to their credit, didn’t start selling the associated greeting cards until 2002. Unless you talk with Jerry Frear, Jr., who will also claim founding this day to thank clergy (this after he spent time in prison for fraud associated with his dot-com business).

Should we have a day/month set aside to thank clergy?

There is a sound biblical basis for showing appreciation for one’s pastor. In several of his writings, Paul encourages churches to show respect and to pay those who work hard at preaching and teaching (1 Tim 5:17) and to allow pastors to do their work with joy (Hebrews 13:17). 

Paul, however, says nothing about a rendering a Starbucks card or providing a cake after worship, nor does he suggest this happen on a particular day.

If you’ve celebrated your pastor this past week (2nd Sunday of October is the official day… although the entire month is designated for Clergy Appreciation) don’t despair. It’s not heresy. In fact, it is kind of… nice. If you’ve not celebrated your pastor (or if you are among those clergy who have not been gifted with a card) that’s okay as well. The truth is that although cake is always appropriate, there are other ways of showing appreciation that don’t cause a sugar-rush:

  1. Observe your pastor’s sabbath time and allow them to keep it holy.
  2. Let them know when a sermon resonated with you.
  3. If your pastor has been with you for six years or more, encourage a sabbatical. The Board of Pensions has just started offering sabbatical grants up to 4K for clergy (including interims!). 
  4. Make sure your pastor has time for the things that bring them joy.

Ultimately, shouldn’t there be a day for everyone? What about Single Parent’s Day, or Food Service Workers Day? Or better yet, perhaps we could show appreciation for all the people we interact with throughout the year by showing them respect and kindness?

Put that on a card, Hallmark!

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