Today I write not as a pastor but as a member of this church, as someone who was born into an Adventist home and who from childhood learned to respect and appreciate the job and the image of the pastor.
WHAT IS PASTOR APPRECIATION DAY?
Protestants usually set apart the month of October as “Pastor Appreciation Month.” Just as there is a day on the calendar to celebrate certain professionals, there is also a day to celebrate the person and function of the pastor. As Seventh-day Adventists, we suggest to set apart in our denominational calendar the fourth Sabbath of October as “Pastor Appreciation Day.” However, we recognize that appreciation for and recognition of our spiritual leaders is appropriate each and every day of the year.
WHY IS THIS DAY NEEDED?
The nature of the work performed by the pastor and the pastor’s family is singular. God has entrusted them with one of the most precious responsibilities: taking care of His flock’s spiritual welfare. When a pastor fails to reach this goal, church members are greatly harmed. In this context, the pastoral family has a great responsibility in relation to the churches they serve.
In general, the church expects that the pastor has an ideal family with perfect kids who are always smiling and cooperative. The pastor is also seen as someone who can answer any question, has an elegant posture, and has no problems or conflicts. Some church members are disappointed when the pastor is depressed or faces personal or family problems. The pastoral family lives as the proverbial fish bowl, with the congregation watching every move they make. It never occurs to church members that they might be the cause of the pastor’s worry or failure.
This is why God has instructed us to recognize and value His servants, our spiritual leaders. “Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine” (1 Tim. 5:17, NIV). The good news is that as church members, we can make a difference in the pastor’s life. Pastor Appreciation Day is a good opportunity to express our love and appreciation for our pastor’s ministry and influence in our lives.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
There are at least two ways to celebrate Pastor Appreciation Day. The first way is what members can do individually to pay homage to the pastor: a simple phone call, a card, an invitation to lunch, a special prayer for him/her, a car wash, a small gift, or some words of appreciation.
The second way is to celebrate Pastor Appreciation Day with the congregation. Members can organize some type of public recognition: a special lunch celebration, a gift in the name of the church, a tree planted in honor of the pastor—the sky is the limit!
Doesn’t the pastoral family deserve this kind of homage? Take the initiative today and make plans so that the celebration of Pastor Appreciation Day in your church is an exaltation of the pastoral ministry established by God to be a blessing to His children.
Jonas Arrais is editor of Elder’s Digest.