October is Pastor Appreciation Month, but let's be honest. Clergy - interim and settled - deserve to be noticed year-round for the ways they have committed their lives not just to the tasks but also to the intense spiritual, emotional, and mental labor of ministry. Thank them when…
...they get up at 4:30 am for a pre-surgery visit after crawling into bed late the night before due to a meeting that ran long.
...they struggle over whether to take that much-needed vacation, knowing that a beloved church member is on hospice care.
...social media tells people in the pews to "walk out of worship if your pastor doesn't preach on [insert current event here]," yet your pastor understands that that doesn't need to be the focus today.
...the lectionary is serving up softballs for addressing the world's ills, and they go there, knowing some parishioners will be angry.
...they are pulled between wanting to be a whole person (including showing up for their loved ones and themselves) and wanting to be the best pastor possible.
...they work so hard to encourage your church's progress, only to have conflict burn it all down.
...their calendars look like boxes of markers exploded on them, with color-coded appointments leaving precious little blank space.
...they have to wear the mantle of spiritual leadership even as they wrestle with their own faith.
...they have no idea what to do next after a metaphorical bomb goes off in your congregation, so they keep putting one foot directly in front of the other.
...the Church or your church makes them representative of all of a particular demographic, such that they bear the weight of excellence on behalf of all their peers.
...constructive feedback is hard to come by, no matter how much they seek it out.
...others discount their voices because they are too something, yet still they keep raising them because the message is faithful.
...they toil in obscurity because they are making big impacts that will ripple out far beyond what they will ever see.
...they make (or lead your church to make) decisions that are hard but good.
...they offer care to people who disappoint or even hurt them.
...they want more for the Church, because it is Christ's body here on earth.
Thank your ministers often for all the seen and unseen work they do to bring more peace, connection, and understanding into this world.