Every year I brace myself for another “Pastor Appreciation Month.” This is not the grip of anticipation and thoughts of “what will someone give me.” My feelings are more along the lines of I hope no one listens to Christian radio and hears about this nonsense.
Apparently, someone in a big company who preys on Christians decided to set aside October, a whole month, as Pastor Appreciation Month. I assume this was an idea that was meant to drum up business in an otherwise “unspiritual” fall. Easter consumes the spring, and then there are graduations, Mothers and Father’s Day, and the patriotic appeal of July. Thanksgiving is a good month, and Christmas sales are through the roof, but we have nothing to make money in October. Someone said, “I know, let’s focus on Pastors and guilt congregations into gift-giving.” I pray their motives were pure, and they truly wanted to honor pastors, but I highly doubt it.
Anyway, there is this month promoted in Christian bookstores (aka trinket shops) and on Christian radio as a time to honor pastors. In case you do not know or cannot hear my tone, I hate it.
- It is unbiblical and feeds some pastor’s egos. Jesus in Matthew 23:1-12 chastises the religious leaders of this day because some of them were in it for the glory. They loved to have the best seats for events, they enjoyed the perks of their position, and they loved to be honored by others. Jesus offers an alternative view of humble service without recognition.
- It hurts some pastors. This happens in one of two ways. First, some pastors do not get anything from their congregation, and they feel hurt that no one appreciated them. While that may be a problem in the pastor’s soul (#1), I understand the hurt. Imagine your spouse forgot an important holiday. Second, sometimes, it is just painful. Two instances of this have happened in my life. Once a woman gave me a card with a financial gift in it, and she wrote about how I could use the money to buy some nicer clothes. The one time a Church tried to honor me, they gave me a gift that showed how little they knew me. It was wasted money on a gift that I did not want or need.
- It divides the Church. This one is subtle. It demonstrates a line between the “staff” of a Church and the “laity.” The staff is godly people, and volunteers are grunts. The Bible speaks of a priesthood of ALL believers. No one is greater than another.
- It sends the wrong message. I believe this month sends the message to volunteers that their job is to make the pastor look and feel good. It forces a light onto Christian leaders and gives the impression that service in the Lord should be for recognition in this life. A volunteer can feel like less of a servant of God than a person in a paid position or worse; they can become like #1 on my list.
That is enough for now. These are only a few of the reasons I have a great disdain for Pastor Appreciation Month. I am glad the month is almost over, and I can relax. I am so happy a few people like me, and I am honored by their kindness, but I serve so that God gets the glory. The Lord be praised for anything good that happens through me.