Posted by: morgan1965 | October 16, 2011

Clergy Appreciation Month 2011

The autumn month of October is known as Clergy Appreciation Month. This is an appropriate time when congregations can honor their pastors and the pastoral families. We honor our clergy for their faithful ministry and their sacrificial service. We honor their families because of the love and support that they provide to the clergy leader and the ministry setting.

Although October is the traditional month for Clergy Appreciation, this can be done at any time during the year. Clergy need to know that they have congregational support. A congregation can demonstrate its support on a regular basis. First, a pastoral leader benefits from the regular prayers of the congregation. Prayer makes a difference in the life of a pastor and the life of a congregation. Second, when a pastor receives congregational affirmation, he/she is strengthened in their own personal morale. Third, every human being desires appreciation. It is good for clergy to know that they are loved and appreciated.

I encourage each congregation to observe Clergy Appreciation Month, either now or at some other appropriate time as determined by the lay leadership team. Our clergy can thrive in a context where prayer, affirmation and appreciation are manifested on a regular basis. A congregation thrives when there is mutual love, pastor and congregation, congregation and pastor. It is a two way street.

As the spiritual leader of the West Virginia Annual Conference, I am deeply thankful for the women and men who have answered God’s call to serve in pastoral ministry and other special ministry settings. I am grateful for the faithful service that our clergy render in a variety of places. I also appreciate the many lay people who partner with our clergy as together they do the work of ministry and mission.

When I reflect on my own journey as a clergyperson, I am grateful for the many lay people who demonstrated clergy appreciation. Some people would consistently offer a word of understanding and encouragement. Other folk would give me a phone call to say hello, or send a thoughtful note. There were times when the family would be invited out to dinner. I fondly remember one dear lady who regularly would send her husband to our home bearing a homemade pie or yeast rolls. There was another lady who annually would stop by at Christmas time with a Santa Claus bag with a gift for each family member. These gestures might seem small, but they were loaded with love and appreciation. These signs of appreciation helped to sustain my ministry over the years.

Pastoral ministry in part is difficult because ministry is so public. The eyes of the community are always on the pastor and the pastor’s family. Expectations sometimes are unreasonable. Although striving for perfection, United Methodist pastors are not perfect. All Christians strive to grow in Christ as they journey on the spiritual path. Clergy, therefore, need our love, our understanding, our encouragement and our prayers.

Dear God, we thank you for all of our clergy who labor in your vineyard! Amen.



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