Feeling Kind of Perky

Posted: December 22, 2010 in church, religion
Tags: , ,

I have been involved in pastoral ministry to some extent – both salaried and not – for over nine years now.  Around the holidays it is not at all uncommon for people in the church to exchange pictures and Christmas cards and even to leave gifts of some description for the pastoral staff.  I certainly do not expect people to give me gifts just because I am their pastor and I try to show a great deal of gratitude when they do as I see it a privilege to be paid to study and teach what I other wise would have to do on my own time.

This Christmas season has been no different from any other year in many respects with many people leaving me cards, pictures and gifts.  However, what happened this afternoon was very different from anything I have dealt with before.  A representative from one of the local funeral homes came by with a tray of Planter’s chocolates, and a day planner and a reasonably nice pen just to say Merry Christmas and to thank me for working with them.  Now I know in the business world it is very normal for businesses to give gifts to those whom they have done significant business with in the past year as a means of maintaining relationship and hopefully garnering more business in the new year.  I have never really considered myself a business associate before though as a pastor nor would I ever have expected to be seen in that light.

Obviously it was a very nice gesture on their part and I am not trying to seem ungrateful (as I pop a dark chocolate covered almond into my mouth) but I cannot help but feel really awkward in this situation.  I really enjoyed the folks who work at this home and would look forward to ministering along side them when the occasion arises again, but by accepting a gift like this do I unconsciously accept being a business associate rather than a pastor who exists and works for others good, not my own?

What do you think?  Is it inappropriate in any way to accept gifts like this given the role of a pastor or is it just another perk of the job?

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Comments
  1. SLK says:

    Ben:
    I think it is proper to look at this gift as just a normal Christmas thankyou. Both you and the Company know that the gift shouldn’t affect how you do your job.

    So while it might be more than you would expect, I would just enjoy their generosity and not give it further thought. It is nice to be appreciated.

    These are my thoughts- enjoy those chocalates and maybe save one for me.

    SLK

    Like

  2. Jennifer says:

    Accept it and bring those delicious delights on home!

    Like

  3. Mrs. JK says:

    In Regina, some funeral homes have brought the pastor a frozen turkey or ham. I think it is just their way of saying “Thank you – we appreciate being able to work with you to bring comfort and support to those who are grieving.” Instead of the word “business” think of it as “ministry” together. Makes it easier to swallow those chocolate covered nuts which, I am sure, you will be sharing with your staff. 😉

    Like

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