How often do you say thank you to your pastor?
How often is your pastor in your prayers?
How often do you write your pastor a note of encouragement?
How often do you brag about your pastor to others?
If your answer to any of the above is “Not often enough,” then here’s your opportunity to show your pastor how much you care. October is Pastor Appreciation Month, and congregants all across the nation will be pouring out their love for their church leaders in tangible ways that shower them with love and gratitude.
Pastors are an integral part of our lives. They are present for all the significant events of life: births, deaths, baptisms, confirmations, weddings, and funerals. They walk by our sides through the good times of life and through all our challenges. They teach us from the Word week after week and counsel us when life’s problems seem just too much for us to handle. While some pastors have large staffs that take care of the many details of running the church, others pastor small churches where the senior pastor is personally responsible for all the operations during the week. Either way, our pastors work hard! They deserve some accolades.
Let’s not forget that being the leader of a church can sometimes be a lonely and thankless job. Pastors often deal with heavy, sensitive issues that they have to hold in close confidentiality and cannot process with others. Many also hold the financial burdens of churches in their hands. There are a lot of struggling congregations out there that never meet their budgeted needs through normal giving. The pastor becomes responsible for fundraising and balancing the budget. Having to bear the weight of all those burdens presents a great challenge. A little encouragement and uplifting from church members can go a long way in helping pastors everywhere to keep going when times are tough.
Plus, despite the all-important role they play in our lives, we are generally quicker to criticize and question our pastors than we are to appreciate and encourage them. Pastors receive criticism on a vast variety of topics on a weekly basis. People criticize the sermon. They criticize the worship music. They criticize the way the budget is spent. They even criticize the comfort level of the pews. Many pastors go months without hearing a positive and encouraging word.
But now is our chance…. It’s almost Pastor Appreciation Month! Although we should be appreciating our pastors all year long, we can certainly dedicate this month to a special show of solidarity and support. Let’s make it our goal to let them know how much we truly care.
How can we do this? Here are a few practical suggestions.
- Shake the pastor’s hand after service and offer a heartfelt expression of thanks.
- Drop a thank you card in the mail to express your gratitude.
- Stop by the church during the week to poke your head in his office and to acknowledge all the hard work he’s putting into preparing his sermon.
- Buy her a cup of coffee, a bag of beans, or a gift card to her favorite coffee shop.
- Give him tickets to attend a game played by his favorite team.
- Find a first-edition or an autographed copy of one of her beloved authors.
- Understand the vision of the church clearly and buy into it personally.
- Become a champion for the accomplishment of the church’s vision.
- Be someone the pastor can count on in good times and bad, when things are going according to plan, and when things seem to have gone off the rails.
- Volunteer your time and talents, gifts and abilities, willing body and spirit.
- Encourage others to be involved through volunteering.
Choose something positive and make it your goal to encourage your pastor this month. He will be forever grateful, and it will build him up in the Lord for the sake of the Kingdom.