We’re just wrapping up two of the busiest seasons in the church year – Christmastide and Eastertide. Pastors and church workers have spent hours working on sermons, planning services, printing and folding bulletins, coordinating volunteers, besides maintaining their regular schedules and obligations, and spending time with their families, sleeping, and eating. I have friends from college who is currently on their #clergycrash vacation to rest up.
I love Pastor Appreciation Month in October and I think having witnessed first hand the impact that the month has on the encouragement to a pastor, it’s a great month to celebrate. I just also think it can make us feel like we’re off the hook the rest of the year – except Christmas of course.
Our pastors and other church workers need our support all year long. And I know our schedules are busy and no one’s really looking for one more thing to do or one more obligation to add to their plates.
So I have a few ideas for ways we can support our pastors and other church workers in a normal week.
1. When you volunteer to help with something, follow through. Whether it’s cookies for a bake sale, chaperoning a lock-in, or teaching a class, when you volunteer, the church worker in charge of rounding up volunteers is counting on you.
2. Read written communication thoroughly. A lot of time and energy go into bulletins, newsletters, and even emails. Read them. It helps cut down on repeat communication needs.
3. Attend the meetings for any group you’re involved in. Contribute to the meetings. The more that you can get done in a meeting, the less meetings there will need to be. Be sure to call ahead if you can’t make a meeting.
4. Look around your pew before you get up. Try not to leave behind bulletins or any scraps. And if you notice pencils need sharpened or prayer cards are running low, take a minute after church and sharpen or replenish cards. If you don’t know where the cards are, grab a few from another pew. Try not to ask the church worker and give them one more thing to handle after service.
5. Which reminds me, if there’s anything that you need to tell your pastor on a Sunday morning, write it on a note. Pastors are sometimes overwhelmed with information between services. If you can’t write it down because it’s a face-to-face conversation or phone call, write a note requesting s/he call you for an appointment.
6. Is there a problem with the bulletin? Do you have an idea for a new hymn to sing, or a new committee to form? Schedule an appointment to talk about it. Everyone has a chance to prepare better when there’s an appointment set up.
7. Respect his/her day off and time with their family. Whenever possible, call the office instead of their cell phone and leave a message. Same for texts and emails. Give them a time to rest up and invest in their families.