Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for the would be of no advantage to you. (Hebrews 13:17)
Here’s a question for you: Do you make it easy for your pastor to do his job with joy? I hope and pray so. Chances are you’re reading this for some ideas to bless a pastor in your life.
In a culture that has come to claim a day or week or month for just about everything, you may not know that October is known as Pastor Appreciation Month for many churches. As a pastor for 22 years, I’ve had a number of moments when I’ve felt appreciated. I have also heard from other pastors about what has really blessed them. Based on this experience, I want to give you some tips about celebrating pastors during the month of October.
Seven Ways to Bless Your Pastor
Here are seven ways for you to show your pastor how much you appreciate the sacrifice they make for you. As you read through them, try and find one that sticks out and would be attainable for you. I know your pastor will appreciate it.
1. Give an encouraging word.
Most weeks pastors pour over their study time, care for the congregation, consult the hurting, and serve those in the local community. Being a pastor is burdensome and exhausting physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Often we only hear critiques or concerns, which can become discouraging; so encourage us with your words. Let us know how the Lord has specifically changed you under our ministry.
2. Give a gift.
Find out what kind of reference books your pastor uses, and get him a gift card to retailers that sell them. He may be a tangible book guy that likes to hold the pages. Amazon, Westminster Theological Bookstore, Lifeway, and Christian Book Distributor are all good options. Let him know with a note that you want him to keep pursuing study of the Bible and appreciate the time he puts in. Remember that pastors are people too, and a personal gift can go a long way!
3. Give hospitality.
Have your pastor (and his family) over to your home for a meal. I have known families that threw a “we appreciate you!” dinner and invited over key people in their lives to their home. They decorated the backyard, prepared a five-course meal, had their children help as servers, and were great hosts. They were also intentional with the time, filling it with encouragement and exhortation.
4. Give acts of service.
Set up a meeting with the pastor and ask him what’s needed in regard to service areas in the church. You might be able to fill a volunteer role that’s been weighing on him because it hasn’t been filled for some time.
5. Give time away.
If you have the means of a second home somewhere, see if you can offer it to your pastor and his family for a vacation. Pastors desperately need to get away, and sometimes that can be difficult due to restraints on money and time.
6. Give a written note.
Have your small group take some time during your next meeting to write a number of encouraging notes that can be delivered to your pastor’s office at some point. When I walk in to see those stacks of notes, I feel deeply grateful that people took time during their busy week to share what they’ve been encouraged by.
7. Give encouragement to his wife.
Often neglected in pastor appreciation month is the pastor’s wife. She bears the burdens he does (maybe even more at times). Behind every good married pastor is a good wife. She needs encouragement too: When you called your pastor to come to your church, you called his wife at the same time.
Appreciate Your Pastor This Month
We pastors need encouragement these days, as we fight for the eternity of souls:
We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13)
It’s a wonderful, rewarding work to be a pastor because of what we get to be part of, day in and day out. Great pastors take pride in doing their work well and exalting the name of Jesus. I hope you appreciate your pastor or your church’s team of pastors well this month. Take some time to pray and think about how you might bless them, and then put yourself in go-mode to make it happen!