What is Clergy Appreciation Month?
Clergy Appreciation Month is a special time that congregations set aside each year to honor their pastors and pastoral families for the hard work, sacrificial dedication and multiple blessings provided by these special people. It is typically scheduled in October, but can be held at any time that is convenient for the church and the community. It is also important to remember that appreciation, affirmation and prayer support of our spiritual leaders is appropriate throughout the entire year.
Why is CAM necessary?
The nature of the service provided by pastors and their families is unique. God has entrusted to them one of the most precious of assignments — the spiritual well-being of His flock. When a pastor becomes ineffective, the very souls of his or her parishioners are endangered. When eternity is in the balance, we should all be concerned.
Pastors and their families live under incredible pressures. Their lives are played out in a fishbowl, with the entire congregation and community watching their every move. They are expected to have ideal families, to be perfect people, to always be available, to never be down and to have all the answers we need to keep our own lives stable and moving forward. Those are unrealistic expectations to place on anyone, yet most of us are disappointed when a pastor becomes overwhelmed, seems depressed, lets us down or completely burns out.
That's why God has instructed us to recognize His servants.
"The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching" (1 Timothy 5:17).
The good news is that we can make a difference! Clergy Appreciation Month is one way we can counter the negative erosion in the lives of our spiritual leaders with the positive affirmation they need.
What can we do?
There are two ways to help your pastors and their families feel appreciated:
1. Figure out what you can do personally to recognize and honor these leaders. A simple card, an invitation to lunch, a promise to pray for them or an offer to babysit, wash a car or mow a lawn make wonderful statements.
2. Share the concept of CAM with others in your congregation and challenge them to join you in some kind of formal planning. You might consider a special service of affirmation, a potluck event or planting a tree in their honor. The sky is the limit!
To help you in this process, Focus on the Family has developed the following resources:
- A Clergy Appreciation Month Planning Guide is available online with complete step by step instructions and pages of exciting celebration suggestions. It also includes long-term ideas for the proper care of your pastors and their families. This complimentary guide can be reviewed, downloaded or printed immediately.(Note: Adobe Reader is required to view this PDF file. Click on the image to the right to download the latest version for free. The CAM planning guide PDF file itself may take several minutes to load into your computer's memory with a modem, so please be patient.)
- There is also an online Spanish version of the planning guide for Spanish-speaking congregations and individuals. (También hay disponible una versión gratis de la guía de planificación para iglesias y personas de habla hispana.)
- CAM promotional artwork is available for use in fliers, bulletins and other promotional material.
- An audio greeting from H.B. London Jr. to your congregation and pastoral team can be reviewed, downloaded and copied to a CD that can be played during a time of celebration.
Don't your pastors and their families deserve this kind of recognition? Do something about it today!