Here is a rough draft of an article I'm working on for Higher Ministries
I had also updated my own story to help hurting youth workers. (Might post that too - soon)
Top 10 Things you can give for Pastor Appreciation Month
By Gerrard R. Fess
October is Pastor or Clergy Appreciation Month. The following are some suggestions to help show your leadership that you care. As a fellow pastor some of these suggestions were given to me and helped encourage and show that I was valued as a member of the church body.
1. Gift cards – cards from local grocery store, home value places, blockbuster, I-tunes etc. Be creative. I just got one this week from one of our families just to say Thank you for a local Ice Cream place – and plan on taking my family.
2. Groceries. Get what their grocery list is or what they usually buy. Some churches in the South I’m told do what is called a “Pounding” and basically what a pounding is a challenge to fill the cupboards and fridge to the brim with stocks of food. Imagine saving $$$ on groceries. Very practical idea.
3. Free babysitting and complimentary funds for a date night.
4. Money – always works. Sometimes you don’t know what the family’s bills, struggles or what they need – it might be they need more clothes for the kids but the budget is tight so some extra funds come in handy.
5. A hand written card. Nothing says Thank You like getting the personal touch of someone saying thanks. Even an e-card would do too.
6. Subscription services to magazines (Leadership, Rev, Journal of Student Ministries, Group), online services and websites, podcasts. There are some online services like preachingtoday.com that have a subscription and might help with their ministry. Maybe get a wish list here of magazines or online services they’d dream of subscribing to.
7. Gadgets. Help the leadership maybe update their software, laptops, PDAs, cell phones. Maybe even have several families go in to help purchase some of this higher dollar items. This not only shows love but an investment in their ministry. It is only a matter of time that some leaders have to quit using Windows 2000 and eventually go MAC or Vista. Some of my students recently got me an I-pod. (I would not owned one otherwise).
8. Books – get a wish list of books you church leader has (note the favorite authors) or would like to buy. A good leader is a lifelong learner and always could use more reading resources and books.Consult their spouse for suggestions. Personally I’m reading more in leadership development than in youth ministry.
9. Extra Vacation days. Help organize more time off or see that they can get renewed by having their own personal retreat. Perhaps there is someone in your congregation who has a vacation home to offer, or see what your local camp ministry offers or other resources. One of the best times I had was when a family just invited us to go with them to the beach for the day.
10. Help send them to that seminar or convention that they always wanted to go to. Conventions can be expensive. Making sure they get there, have all the funds and don’t have to worry about how this affects their own personal budget or the church’s – set them at ease. There are many pastor, youth leader, marriage, conventions out there.
-Do any of the above and more on any other day other than Pastor Appreciation Month will go a long ways too.
-Specifically pray for your church leaders. Ask them for prayer requests. Send them a note telling them that you are praying for them.
-Have a special ceremony to recognize them in front of the church body.
I still have my framed certificate that says “You are Appreciated” on the wall in my office from a few years ago.
-Celebrate those holidays, birthdays, anniversaries. Recognize the anniversary of the number of years that they been at the church. Promote and celebrate longevity.
-Take them out. Treat them to dinner, lunch, a fun activity. Sometimes it is the little things that say a lot. Be creative and have fun with showing love.
I know when I got some Jesus bandages and potty mouth gum for my birthday I was loved. (The gum was not for me, by the way, but for some of my students.)
National Clergy Appreciation
8 Ways to Encourage your pastor
Clergy Appreciation Planning Guide
Genuine Ministers – Marshall Leggett
Becoming Your Favorite Church – HB London, Neil Wiseman.