October is Pastor Appreciation Month and is established as a time to honor and show our respect and gratitude for all that our pastors sacrifice for our church body. But why stop at showing our thanks to just our pastors? There are so many other people who play important roles in making the church function. These unsung heroes deserve to be recognized as well. Each of them is an important piece in the life of the Church. We have the opportunity to bless these individuals and pour some encouragement into their cups.
4 Unsung Heroes in every church:
1) The pastor’s wife and children
Life as a pastor’s wife can be extremely isolating and lonely. Most people in the congregation want to be known by and friends with the pastor’s wife, but few are truly willing to take the time needed to invest in developing the trust required for that friendship. The pastor’s family carries a heavy load as they deal with the same stressors as every other family but also daily share their husband/father with everyone else in the congregation. Often an emergency in the life of a member can take precedence over the regular daily needs of the pastor’s family. The stress the pastor deals with each day is also shouldered by his family.
Receiving a note of thanks from someone in the congregation is often an immense gift to the wife of a pastor. Hearing that someone acknowledges and recognizes the sacrifice she makes by bringing her children each week to church by herself, carrying the emotional weight of walking with her husband through other people’s tragedies and struggles and selflessly sharing her husband with so many others would be a huge encouragement to her. Very few people recognize what an important role the pastor’s wife plays in the life of the congregation. Hugging her neck and handing her a gift card to their favorite restaurant, movie tickets or some other way to treat their family to fun would be a great way to say thank you!
2) The church secretary
This is the key holder for the congregation. It is usually a woman that is privy to many sacred moments and personal information of so many in the congregation. She is responsible for making sure the pastor and staff have what they need, get where they need to be and know what they need to know. She is the answerer of all questions and manager of most everything that is important. She is the motherboard in the computer called the Church. Yet often she is an afterthought when people consider staff and leadership. However, without her, most pastors simply could not do their jobs as well or at all!
A note of thanks, a gift card, a bouquet of flowers or simply taking time to tell her what a rock star she is would simply bless her socks off. Many church secretaries don’t even attend the church where they serve, often because it can be hard to know all they know about the individuals in the church and then still worship alongside them. So to have a congregation take time to love and serve their secretary would truly be a beautiful image of the Gospel.
3) The custodial staff
Why do we expect people to clean up after us and empty our trash but act like we don’t see them when they do it? I have seen so often the custodial staff of churches silently slip in and out of Sunday School rooms and sanctuaries without anyone acknowledging they were there. They do the thankless jobs most of us hardly even notice. Yet we would certainly notice that they had not been done. Let’s take the time this October to verbally thank them and shake their hands. They would truly appreciate a gift card or note or small gift just recognizing that they are an important part of our team. If you have a large custodial staff, you might not be able to get each one a gift. However, you could encourage your small group to work together to host a meal for the custodial staff as a whole or work together to make sure each one is acknowledged and blessed in some way.
4) The nursery workers
We entrust our most precious blessings to these wonderful nursery workers each week. What they do is such a blessing to us because it allows us time to worship and reflect, and it also introduces our children to Christ’s love at church. Many church nursery workers are volunteers that willingly sacrifice time each week to serve us by loving our children. What a gift it would be to express our thanks through a card or plate of cookies to simply let them know what a blessing they are to us.
Pastor Appreciation Month is quite honestly a gift to all of us. Sadly, I need to be reminded to say thank you. I need scheduled reminders to take time to show the important people in my life how I feel and how much I appreciate them and all they do. So just as Grandparent’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are important, so is the month of October as Pastor Appreciation Month.
Who will you bless this October by saying THANK YOU?