I ADMIRE YOUR MINISTRY
It is not unusual for a pastor to feel as if they are underappreciated. People may appreciate what they are doing but never take the time to express it. The failure to express appreciation is especially true among colleagues. When was the last time you had another clergy say to you, “I really appreciate or admire the way you . . . .?”
Knowing that such shared appreciation builds good relationships, and recognizing the fractured nature of the larger Christian community, it might be valuable to experiment with several ways to encourage the expression of appreciation among pastoral colleagues.
A simple practice that a presbytery staff or COM could do would be to invite people to express appreciation. The first step would be to encourage people to be observant of each others ministry. Consider developing a brief explanation of why you are doing this and then inviting twenty clergy spread out over the presbytery to consciously be alert to the ministry of another pastor for up to a month and try to “catch” them in good acts of ministry. Then, ask them to email, speak to, or otherwise personally communicate to that person appreciation for that act of ministry.
OUTDO ONE ANOTHER IN SHARING HONOR
If you want to add to the fun of it, make it a contest to see who can spot the most acts of excellence in ministry within the presbytery. While creative acts of ministry are important, one should also note the ordinary faithful acts as well. Then, not only express appreciation to the people who are performing that ministry but publicly share a combined list of the faithful acts of ministry going on within the presbytery.
Consider the power of these expressions of appreciation to lift the spirit of ministry within the presbytery.