David Peppler, Sr.
Thank Your Pastoral Staff
When I served as a pastor I followed the typical pattern of vacations. Take one week after Christmas, then take another the week after Easter. Those two weeks of vacation were great for when our kids were young as it coincided with their school breaks. After they graduated and that no longer mattered, it was still a great idea to take a break then. Why? Because I was exhausted!
The Christmas distractions include all of the extra school and office parties and such. Easter offers a different set of busyness opportunities that tend to affect clergy more than anyone else. There are special services starting on Ash Wednesday. Many communities also have weekly Lent Luncheons or such and have various pastors participate by hosting or speaking. There is a tendency among clergy to do extra writing during this time. Reflections and special series' of lessons and/or conversations abound.
Then we finally get to Holy Week. This is when it gets worse (I mean busier)! Special arrangements are made and incorporated into worship for Palm Sunday. There are often extra gatherings to go along with the usual Wednesday activities. You may have a Maundy Thursday service, a Good Friday service, some sort of activity on Saturday which could be more services or Easter Egg Hunts. Sunday will often see the addition of a Sunrise Service and maybe a breakfast followed by the usual Sunday School exercises and normal worship service times.
It's no wonder that the afternoon after Easter services I would usually collapse in a heap. Your pastor (and staff) might do the same. The extra work has culminated and the need to spend some time in R&R are quite necessary. This also means that for the first part of their vacation, their family is not receiving their best attention because of being so tired.
The primary difference I noticed in my years in pastoral ministry is that the offering of thanks to the pastor for this season's extra work are usually not present. We gift our pastors and their families at Christmas with money, presents, and extra words of thanks for their efforts. This is not always the experience of pastors during the season of Lent or Holy Week.
Take some time this week to offer your thanks to your pastor and staff. Even kind words of thanks go a long way in a weary soul.
Here are some ideas of how you can thank your pastor (staff):
It does a pastor's heart good when he or she receives a thank you note.
Give a general gift card or one to their favorite restaurant.
Slip the pastor some gas money since you know they're ready to travel.
Publicly acknowledge all the extra work the pastoral staff has been doing throughout this season.
Offer to have their car serviced if they're planning a long trip.
Collect a love offering (like many churches do at Christmas).
Honestly, the best gift would be a 2nd consecutive week of vacation! One to recover and one to enjoy.