Origins of Pastor Appreciation Day and Clergy Appreciation Month
October has long been recognized worldwide as Clergy Appreciation Month. The call to honor our church leaders’ contributions can be traced back to St. Paul. In establishing the first Christian churches, St. Paul advised the congregation to give “double honor” to the elders of the church who managed the affairs of the church well, “especially those whose work is preaching and teaching” (1 Timothy 5:17).
St. Paul further urged Christian communities to acknowledge those “who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you,” holding these spiritual leaders “in the highest regard in love because of their work” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13).
In 1994, the American Christian organization Focus on the Family began promoting Clergy Appreciation Month as a national month of observation. In highlighting Clergy Appreciation Month, Focus on the Family sought to encourage the faithful to outwardly show their appreciation for religious leaders on a national level.
From Clergy Appreciation Month grew the idea of emphasizing one specific day to nationally pay tribute to our clergy. This day became known as Pastor Appreciation Day. Also referred to as Clergy Appreciation Day, this day of showing national gratitude for clergy members is celebrated on the second Sunday in October.
Why It’s Important to Celebrate Pastors and Clergy Members
As of mid-2018, there are approximately 51,000 people in the United States who are officially employed as clergy. When we consider all that religious leaders do, it becomes clear how important it is to celebrate and uplift our hardworking clergy.