How to Honor Your Pastor
October is designated as Clergy Appreciation Month. Churches are encouraged to take some time during this month to honor their pastor. Sometimes this doesn’t happen for a number of reasons. First, some may be totally unaware of the responsibility and privilege of honoring their pastor. Secondly, perhaps there is no one to “take charge” to see that it happens. Many churches are used to the pastor making decisions, designating how money is spent and genuinely being “in charge.” Obviously however, no pastor is going to take charge of his own “party.” As a result, unfortunately, sometimes the month passes with just good intentions, but no real action. Thirdly, some may be confused with questions like, “What do we do? How much do we spend? What is expected?” In fear of not doing it right. Nothing gets done at all. Lastly, perhaps a few feel, since the pastor does the Lord’s work, he is already honored and no further accolades are needed. However, every church should take time to honor their pastor. It is a beautiful time for the loving bond between pastor and saints to flourish.
Is it really necessary to “honor” a pastor? He is servant of minister for God, so are we taking glory from God when we honor a pastor? Unequivocally no. By honoring your pastor, you bring honor to the God you serve. The Bible teaches us to honor one another. I Timothy 5:17 makes it clear. “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of .double honor, especially they who labor in the Word and doctrine.” Your pastor carries a heavy burden, is on call 24/7/365, and will have to give an account to God for how he pastors you. That is quite a job description! By honoring him or her, you show you understand and appreciate the awesome role he tills.
A church board or deacons are good candidates for taking responsibility to make sure the task is carried out. They are usually elders in the church who have the authority to make some decisions. Sometimes they may feel inadequate to: actually make the decision of what the honor will be (a gift, a dinner, a service?). In this ease perhaps a committee may be appointed the responsibility of carrying out the job. The church board will be able to confer with the church secretary/treasurer as to an appropriate amount that may be designated to spend with respect to the size of the church and the length of the pastorate. Some congregations may be capable of just taking money from the church treasury to use for the gift. Other church bodies may need to discreetly let the saints know they are collecting a love offering to be used as a gift for the pastor. In a few cases, if the love offering is announced and people do not have time to adequately prepare and save, the amount may be very small. Careful planning is needed in this area.
I am aware of a couple of churches who have a separate fund called “The Pastor’s Fund.” Families from the church give each month to this fund ($5, $10, $25, $50, etc.). This money is then able to be used throughout the year for birthdays, Christmas and clergy appreciation. It is not a heavy burden on the church treasury, or the church body, but is prepared for and quite successful.
While it truly is the thought that counts, it is important to do something. If all you can do is send a card, by all means do this. I am not a pack rat. I throw away everything. However I have some cards which saints have sent to us with 1, cry beautiful, heart-felt messages, and I will never part with these. At times when we have been at our lowest, we have dug those cards out and reread them. These small acts of kindness proved immeasurable. Use what gifts you have to honor your pastor. If you are good at scrap-booking, gather pictures and put together a scrapbook of his or her pastorate of your church. If you are wealthy, your gift, while it shouldn’t be ostentatious, should befit your station in life. We have received many beautiful things through the years. Sometimes it is a card with a nice check, sometimes it may be a gift certificate for a meal out. Last year was my personal favorite.
Our Ladies Auxiliary president took a calendar around to everyone in the church. Her goal was to honor her pastor, pastor’s wife, and pastor’s children in some way every day of October. It was wonderful! Someone did something special for at least one of us every day. We were quite humbled by it and the love that was shown to us and our children was overwhelming Here are some examples: one day, a man from the church took my boys to the park and hit fly balls to them to practice their fielding; another day, a teenage girl took our two girls to her home and let them bake cookies. One night, someone brought us a bag of Dilly Bars. One Saturday, a man took my husband golfing. Another Saturday, the ladies took me shopping. Several times a desert was dropped by. A few days our supper was provided: One night, a lady from the church came and gave me a foot massage (it was heavenly!).
You get the picture. It was not a huge sacrifice on any one person; it didn’t cost a lot of money, and everyone got involved. Too often the pastor’s children grow up bitter at the church and God and never want any part of ministry because of how their parents were treated. But you can imagine how my children feel about ministry. They think it is the neatest thing in the world! Our church gave us much more than a month of “goodies,” they showed my children true servanthood and love. Those gifts are priceless.
Do you know your pastor and pastor’s wife’s hobbies? Cater your gift ideas in that direction. Does he enjoy golfing? How about some gift certificates to a golf course? Has your pastor’s wife ever been in a day spa? She might love it, but like most pastor’s wives, would feel guilty spending money on herself. Perhaps you might buy her a gift certificate for a facial, manicure, and/or pedicure. She will come home feeling like a queen! Use your imagination. How about tickets to a play? a weekend away? I have four siblings who all attend the same church. To honor their pastor, the families went together and bought them a cruise. Another time they bought gift certificates for free car washes for a year. Perhaps a group of ladies can volunteer to “fall” clean the pastor’s home; wash windows, curtains, scrub walls and light fixtures… your pastor’s wife would think she’d died and gone to heaven! The possibilities are endless!
Of course, some are home missions pastors with very small congregations, perhaps only their family. Those pastors are my personal heroes. .The month of October may come and go with not one soul even saying thank you. If you know of a home missions pastor who you feel is worthy of honor, request permission from your pastor to send a card thanking him for taking the light of the Gospel to another city. It would mean so much.
I almost feel I have to put a disclaimer on this article since I am a pastor’s wife. Perhaps it appears I am tooting my own horn (or my husband’s). This is not my motive at all. The saints at Henry Apostolic Tabernacle generally spoil us rotten. They do not need “reminding.” However, my heart is broken by those other men and women who labor just as tirelessly who may never be honored on this earth. Sure the Lord sees all and will honor accordingly. But a little thank you down here never hurts. I choose to believe some just didn’t know they should honor their pastor, or didn’t know how. I am, if nothing, practical. Therefore, I purposed to write a very practical “how-to” article to help the wonderful saints of God.
No doubt, many of you already do honor your pastor. For that, I extend a heartfelt thank you. I love being a pastor’s wife. It is what God called me to do. Some days are better than others, but the majority of the time the job is wonderful. It is because so many saints are sincerer people of God who have discovered how to be truly Christ-like in their giving of time, self, and money that can lighten a pastor’s burden. This October, remember your pastor, pastor’s wife, and children (if applicable). They will be grateful and God’s favor will rest upon you.
Editor’s Note: Jill Fierge is the wife of Kevin Fierge, pastor of Henry Apostolic Tabernacle in Henry, Illinois. He is her pastor and she respects him immensely! When she is not busy writing, wiling, mothering, and blessing the work of God, she is receiving heavenly foot massages from the wonderful ladies of H.A.T.
“And I will set up shepherds over them; which shall feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 23:4)
This article “How to Honor Your Pastor” by Jill Fierge was excerpted from Apostolic Writer’s Digest. September 2007. It may be used for study & research purposes only.