October is Pastor Appreciation Month! As the daughter of a pastor, I love this month, because it is an opportunity to pause and think about ways we can express how thankful we are for all our pastors do.
Most pastors have a servant’s heart. When they entered the ministry, most followed their calling knowing it would require a significant amount of self-sacrifice. It would require them to work every holiday, give up time with family, be on call 24/7, and not be able to afford many of “the finer things.” Still, they happily chose to follow this call, because they understood the opportunity they would have to impact lives for eternity.
It’s rare for our pastors to ask for help in meeting their personal desires or needs, but with a little thought and observation—and, maybe, even a bit of creativity—we can find many ways to bless our pastors. Here are some ideas:
- Tell him! Although most pastors do not serve their congregations and communities for acclaim, they are human, and appreciate knowing when they are doing well. Proverbs 25:11 says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” So, your kind words are precious things. One of the simplest ways you can bless your pastor is to genuinely and graciously verbalize how much you appreciate him.
- Write him a note. If you’re not comfortable expressing yourself verbally, you could send him card or note to express your appreciation. In fact, writing your affirmations down has the added benefit of being something he can look at again and again, whenever he needs a reminder of the good he is doing.
- Have a special congregational gathering. Pastor Appreciation Month is a wonderful opportunity for your congregation to have an annual celebration of your pastor and his ministry. This could be a beautiful time for recognizing all your pastor has done throughout the previous year. This could also be an opportunity for him cast a congregation-wide vision for the coming year, and for the congregation offer corporate prayer for him, for his ministry, and for his family.
- Give him a gift. This could be done as an individual or as a congregation. Giving him a gift—especially something that acknowledges one of his special interests or hobbies—lets him know you see him as a person (not just as a pastor) and provides a tangible token of your gratitude for all he does for you.
- Share your talents. If you have a special talent or professional skills, consider offering to share your talents with your pastor and his family. For example, if you’re an accountant, offer to help him with his taxes. If you are a childcare worker, offer to watch his children while he goes on a date with his wife. Even those of us who lack some “special” talent we think he could benefit from, could offer to have lunch delivered to his office or a meal to his family, occasionally.
- Volunteer to serve the church. This is another facet of sharing your talents. There are many roles that are required in order for a church to function each and every week. And, not having them filled can mean disruptions to worship, or to the effective daily running of the church. Knowing faithful volunteers are in place contributes to your pastor’s peace of mind, and allows him to focus on his other important responsibilities.
- Protect your pastor’s weekly time off. God rested on the seventh day, and the fourth commandment says we are to honor the sabbath. But, for our pastors, Sunday is their most responsibility-laden day each week. In theory, to make up for that working weekend day, most pastors have another day off during everyone else’s work week. Unfortunately, though, congregations are not always aware of (or, in some cases, don’t always honor) the pastor’s day off. In order to serve you best, your pastor needs time off. So, if it isn’t already an important church-wide priority, it needs to be. He needs to know that his time off each week will be honored by all.
This next idea is similar, yet distinctly different.
- Protect your pastor’s annual vacation. My dad’s schedule was 24/7/365. He was often gone in the evenings, attending church meetings, teaching classes, visiting the sick and infirmed. We rarely got to go on vacations. In fact, I don’t recall ever being able to even take just a weekend getaway because my brothers and I were in school Monday through Friday, he preached on Sundays, and Saturday just wasn’t enough time to go anywhere. So, our family really looked forward to the few family vacations we were able to plan, as I was growing up. One gift you can give your pastor (and his family) is to let him—and everyone—know that your church prioritizes his annual vacation. Sure, people will still be sick and infirmed that week. Could a church elder, or another local pastor visit them while your pastor is away? People sometimes die during the pastor’s vacation. Could someone else comfort the family until he returns? (Does the funeral have to be that week?) Can other “emergencies” that arise be handle by others, or wait until he returns? Having a church culture and leadership which takes steps to protect this time will be a significant blessing to your pastor—and his family.
- Fund your pastor’s retirement account. Many pastors may not be well-versed regarding what they should be doing now to plan for their retirement. Even if yours is, he may hesitate to ask your church to contribute to his retirement account. But, planning for his retirement should be a priority for him, and helping him fund it should be a priority for the church—and waiting even a few years could mean the loss of thousands of dollars to you pastor’s future, and his future ministry. If you don’t yet assist him in funding his retirement, why not get him started this Pastor’s Appreciation Month? If you want to learn more or get started, please click here to contact us at: https://boardofretirement.com/about-us/contact-us/.
- Ensure that he has access to financial tools, information and resources. Financial matters can be confusing for most of us—and pastors have a whole different set of financial concerns and tax regulations. Ensuring that church leadership provides, or sources, information and assistance will ensure that our pastors know their financial options and tax obligations and can plan wisely—which helps them have peace of mind regarding their financial outlook. To access our BOR financial resources, go to: https://reinvestfwb.com/financial-education/
- Pray for him. Although this one is listed last, it is the most important. Lift your pastor up in prayer throughout Pastor Appreciation Month, and every month. Ask the Lord to continue to give him wisdom, strength, and perseverance, and the desire to press on in service to the Lord, to the congregation, and to the community. Thank the Lord for your pastor and pray that eternal doors will be opened through his service.
This is just a short list of ideas to get started.
The truth is, our pastor serves us every day, and we should be looking for ways we can serve him every day. And, in this way, ALL of God’s people are blessed.
Have a wonderful October, as you bless and encourage your pastor!
Christy Kohnle is a communications consultant and owner of Paradox Communications. She grew up in the Church and has been a life-long Christian, with a strong interest in Biblical financial stewardship. Christy has been managing the BOR communications since September, 2021.