Are you wondering how to bless your pastor or other clergies during Clergy Appreciation Month? We have suggestions for how to bless the ministers in your life. Read here to learn three (spiritual) things clergy members wish for and seven easy, tangible ways to bless your pastor or other clergies.
Four Spiritual things Clergy Members Want
1. How to bless your pastor: Commit to discipleship
We talked to a variety of ministers, from lead pastors to missionaries in the field. When asked what they’d like for Clergy Appreciation Month, every person said the same thing: surrender your life completely to the Lordship of Jesus. They want to see fruit from their labors in the form of repentant hearts, dedicated lives, and surrendered disciples.
One pastor recently mentioned the more than fifty baptisms of all ages in his church in the last few months. Did he want more baptisms? No. He wants the changed lives and obedient hearts those baptisms represent. Although only God can draw a heart to Him, our job is to surrender to His call. Pastors wish more of us would be all-in.
Jesus wants all-in disciples and pastors do, too.
2. How to bless your clergy: Respect their family time
A pastor’s wife we spoke with wanted something every happily married wife wants: More quality time with her husband. She feels called to the role of pastor’s wife and she completely understands (and encourages) emergency calls at night and on days off but she wishes there were fewer routine calls after hours.
If it can wait until the morning, let it.
3. How to bless your pastor and clergy: Choose words wisely
One local church has a “no-gossip, no-murmuring” policy with which every new member must agree. Why? Gossip, grumbling, and backbiting will destroy the unity of a church faster than the enemy can say, “Gotcha.” Ministers and their families wish people would think before they speak and choose words designed to build unity and love. One grandmother said it best, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
Choose loving words, not harsh ones.
4. How to bless your ministers: Pray for them dailyThose in ministry value the power of prayer and they pray regularly for those they serve. What they seldom say is they need your prayers as much (or more than) you need theirs. Pray for wisdom, faithfulness, discernment, and for love to abound. Bless your pastor (and your church) with God-sized prayers. Want ideas on how to pray? Check out this free printable Clergy Appreciation Month prayer calendar.
Seven Easy, Tangible Ways to Bless Your Pastor during Clergy Appreciation Month:
Not even one pastor wished for “stuff,” so we asked ministerial spouses for suggestions. Here’s their list of most-wanted items:
- Hand-written notes of encouragement. Bonus points if you include ways you’re praying for him/her.
- Hand-written notes/cards from your children.
- Invite them to your home with no expectations and use the time to get to know each other better, not to vent or complain about issues in the church.
- A gift card to a favorite restaurant with enough on the card for the entire family. Taking the children along gets expensive fast.
- Money or gift cards for books so they can buy the books/reference materials they need (not the ones you wish they’d read). Suggestions here include www.lifeway.com, www.christianbook.com, thriftbooks.com, or www.goodwillbooks.com/religion.
- Offer to babysit the children for a date night. Bonus points if you include a gift card to a nice restaurant.
- Bless their spouse and children in a way they might not be able to afford. Share your swimming pool for an afternoon or a bonfire for an evening. Flowers for the ladies. A gift card to an upscale clothing store.
How to bless your pastor during Clergy Appreciation Month:
The Things No One Mentioned
Not one of the ministers or spouses suggested a trip to the Holy Land but, if your church can afford this, it’s a life-changing, ministry-expanding experience. You will bless your church as much as your pastor if you completely fund a trip for the ministry couple. Consider this gift (with a reputable trip leader) for a major anniversary. (10 years in service? 20 years?) You’ll be glad you did.
Dr. Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages, lists five major areas in which people “feel” loved. They vary from words of affirmation to quality time, physical touch, acts of service, and receiving gifts. It’s important to remember you and your minister may not have the same love language. If his/her love language is words of affirmation, a hug may not do it, but a hand-written note could be balm to a weary soul.
Take time to know and love the one who takes the time to know, serve, and love you.
Pastors, ministers, clergy—no matter what you call them, these servants of God make sacrifices about which most of us will never know.