There are lots of reasons to love October – the cooler temperatures, the beautiful trees, and high school/SEC football. (Now that my Dawgs beat the Vols I can say that with more gusto.) For the minister’s family, October also means Clergy Appreciation Month and in the words of my friend Fran, I’m praising the high heavens for whomever thought of such a wonderful concept.
The church we serve hands down sets the gold standard for Pastor Appreciation. I have to preface this by saying that Luke and I have always been very uncomfortable having attention or flattery showered on us. We are grateful, and I mean GRATEFUL, for all the expressions of love our people give our family, but we feel awkward at the same time. Our worst fear EVER would be that anyone would think we are expecting to be appreciated.
But on the flip side of that, you have no idea what it means to us when someone takes the time to organize a month’s calendar of meals in addition to a grocery day (a.k.a. a ‘pounding’ in the South. I have enough toilet paper to last 6 months. WIN.), a housewarming shower day (I got a mezzuzah! Luke thinks I’m weird for wanting one), a visiting preacher giving Luke the service off followed by a church-wide dinner day, and then a friends and family day. I”m exhausted just typing it all. Thankfully it doesn’t matter if I’m tired because did you hear what I just said? I don’t have to cook for a month!
Now I’m not telling you all this to brag. Rather it is because many ministry wives have written to me in the past and said their churches do absolutely nothing for them for Clergy Appreciation. Nada. As in it is is never even mentioned. I can hear the discouragement in the precious e-mails – it’s not that you girls expect to be appreciated just like we don’t, but it sure stings a little when you aren’t. That’s not to say your churches are unkind, but it’s like a birthday – everyone deserves at least one day per year to be made much over.
The reasons I am writing these things are several. First, I want to publicly brag on our congregation and thank each and every one of you for being so extravagant with us. You have never lacked in zeal but your expressions in these days have reached a pitch we didn’t know possible. I can confidently say our Love Tanks are full and that we serve the best church EVER. Secondly, if you are a layperson consider this a friendly PSA to make certain you do something special for your ministers and their spouses this month. The benefits to you both will far outweigh the investment. And if you already have, how about telling us how you’ve celebrated their families to give ideas to others? And lastly ministry wives: Has your church acknowledged Clergy Appreciation? What are some of the things they have done for you and what effect does it have on your family?
One last quick note: October 12th’s Chris Fabry Live at 3 p.m. CST will be talking about Clergy Appreciation. I’m thrilled out of my mind to be a guest along with Karen Waddles. I hope you girls will call in and join the discussion!