My friend Tabitha Moldenhauer recently shared a list of what she considers to be appropriate and inappropriate gifts for Clergy Appreciation Month. She has graciously allowed me to share this list with you, the at-home reader. It may seem presumptuous that a pastor is sharing this list, but it is written by a layman, so keep that in mind.
1. Potluck at church. You appreciate the pastor so much that you’re making him stay for yet another potluck…in the church building…where he works. Does that sound like fun to you? Would you like it if your employer made you stay at your workplace in your uniform for an extra couple hours instead of being able to go home and watch football on a Sunday afternoon?
2. Christian kitsch. If you wouldn’t want a clock that plays North American birdsong set to crappy hymnody every hour or a velvet blanket with a giant Jesus face on it, guess what? Neither does your pastor.
3. Singling out his kids for “special” “thanks”. PKs would rather the earth open and swallow them alive than have even more attention focused on them as being different from the rest of the kids in the congregation.
4. Anything used. If you have something you no longer have a use for, and the choice is either to give it to the pastor or throw it out, throw it out. It is garbage.
5. “Christian” book store books, CDs, movies, ties, etc. They’re almost certainly heretical. Just don’t.
6. Clothing for the pastor, his wife, or his kids. You don’t know their sizes or their tastes. Offense, awkwardness, and hurt feelings are guaranteed.
1. Pray for your pastor.
2. Make sure the pastor has at least one day off each week, takes his vacation time, and is paid adequately because if that’s not happening, well,…how long would you put up with these people before chucking it and going to work at the local Taco Bell?
3. Respect boundaries. Make an appointment if you want to see the pastor. He’s not just sitting in his office hoping that someone will wander in to shoot the breeze for 3 hours. He has work to do.
4. Knock off the petty complaining and gossiping for the month of October. Or the whole year. Your choice.
6. High end booze (Editorial Note: Be sure to find out if your pastor imbibes alcohol before buying him booze. Some pastors choose not to drink.)