Bring on the fun! Nothing highlights the service of a member of the ministry quite like a church-wide celebration. These can be small, intimate gatherings or loud, boisterous affairs. Keep the honoree in mind when you plan it, but the sky is the limit as far as creativity is concerned.
Special Church Service
If a pastor or other ordained official is being celebrated, hosting a special church service is a fantastic way to highlight ministry appreciation. Pastor Appreciation Day or the last Sunday of Pastor Appreciation week is the ideal time to plan an event like this. Ask a few parishioners to come up to the podium and read a meaningful piece of scripture during the service.
To feature the honoree in a significant way, have another member of the preaching team give a short speech or homily about the pastor’s service to the church. It doesn’t have to be a formal oration, but it should honor the “person of the day’s” contributions to the parish.
Lastly, special music is a lovely way to end a ministry appreciation church service. If the service is during a traditional mass, the adult choir can sing an honorary piece. If it is the children’s minister being recognized, having the children’s choir perform is a no brainer. And the church band makes a great choice for contemporary services.
Church-wide Potluck or Picnic
For a more relaxed celebration option, why not plan a church-wide potluck supper or picnic lunch? Depending on the weather and time of year, decide whether to hold it indoors in the fellowship hall or outside on the lawn. Tell everyone to bring a dish to share, and to make sure you don’t end up with too many cakes, consider assigning categories. Ask everyone with a last name that starts with A-I to bring salads or dips, have J-S bring main courses and T-Z can take care of the desserts.
Because a potluck meal is more casual than a service, this is an ideal time to have members of the congregation toast… or even gently roast… the person being honored. Some speeches can be planned, but you can also open the microphone to those who want to give an impromptu talk. To keep things lively, children can perform a skit or special song as entertainment.
An event like this might also be the perfect time to present a gift. Consider having a close friend or colleague of the honoree make a short speech before the present is presented. Don’t forget to take pictures!
Nothing feels better than giving back, and planning a service project in honor of someone else gives the special effort an extra hum of excitement. Obviously, the event should be dedicated to the pastor, priest or other member of the ministry team being honored. You can hang a banner at the church announcing the event or even make t-shirts for everyone participating to wear. Make sure to choose a charity or cause near and dear to the honoree’s heart.
The type of celebration can be planned as a known event or an exciting surprise. If you choose the latter, consider calling your honoree to the church for a meeting or roundtable. When he or she gets there, everyone can be waiting with supplies for your project!
You can choose to work on something for a local charity, like blitz building a playground for a community center, volunteering to spruce up the children’s library or repainting the outside of a retirement home. If you’d rather focus on a project that the church needs doing, consider pulling weeds, planting a garden, or rehabbing the youth room. Whatever you decide on, it will be a fulfilling day of fellowship and a great way to celebrate ministry appreciation.