October is fast approaching, which means so is “Pastor Appreciation Month.” Very few folks celebrate Pastor Appreciation Month, and I am not pushing for it to become a more prominent holiday on our calendars. As I shared last week, pastors should be appreciated all the time, and not just one month a year. Pray for your pastors, pay them well, and give them time and space to love and lead their families.
At the same time, I am grateful for the few folks in every church who remember Pastor Appreciation Month, likely because the Christian radio station they listen to reminds them. Because I am no longer a “pastor” as my full-time job, I feel some freedom to speak a bit bluntly about some of the gifts our pastors, your pastors, may be in jeopardy of receiving this year. If you have given your pastor some of these gifts before, don’t feel bad. There is no condemnation here. Only grace. And your pastor really did know you cared, was honored you remembered him, and likely thought, “It is the thought that counts.” But I want to be helpful and encourage you NOT to get your pastor the following this year:
Hopefully he seeks the Lord for the joy of knowing God, for himself and his family, and for the church. But he doesn’t need another set of “praying hands.”
A leadership/church book you want him to read
If you hand your pastor a book with these instructions, “I really think YOU need to read this book. Please let me know your thoughts,” your pastor will likely not enjoy the book. Your pastor will likely wonder the entire time what deficiency you think he has in his leadership/ministry that he must read about in the book. While he may benefit from the book, it surely won’t be a relaxing read that feels like “appreciation.”
I know this sounds cruel, but when he opens the box, he will be thinking, “How many times do I need to wear this tie so it looks like I am grateful?” This is especially true if the tie has Christian fish on it. Or a decorated Christmas tree.
He already has one. If not, you need another church.
A pair of tickets to a scrub matchup
Many pastors like going to games, but if you are just looking for a charitable way to offload the tickets you don’t want to the worst game on the schedule, please don’t think of your pastor first.
A card with nothing in it
The workman is worthy of at least a Starbucks gift card.
If your shopping list has been destroyed and you are asking yourself, “What should I get my pastor?” First, begin with this list. And if you still feel compelled to get a gift, I suggest a gift certificate to a great restaurant, a gift card for some books, or a gift card for a sporting event or play (depending on the taste of your pastor). A gift card allows your pastor to choose the books or choose the night to spend time with his wife. Include an encouraging note and you are golden. Save the “praying hands” for your uncle and the scrub match tickets for StubHub.