A How-To Guide for Pastor Appreciation Month
October is upon us once again, but before you get out the candy and carve jack-o’-lanterns, do something that will really make an impact. Show your pastor(s) some appreciation.
It is, after all, Pastor Appreciation Month. Of course, we hope you’ll demonstrate how much you love your pastors through the year. But October has been set aside to give them a little boost, perhaps just what they’ll need before the second busiest—and not always so merry—season of church leadership.
But maybe you don’t know where to start. You want your expression of appreciation to mean something, but you don’t want it to be cheesy. You don’t want to go overboard, but you want to avoid all appearances of cheap. That’s why we’ve prepared this handy guide to Pastor Appreciation Month.
Step 1: Realize that your pastor probably isn’t going to ask for anything. Let’s face it—pastors are people, too! It’s plain awkward and goes against their humble spirit. This does NOT mean they wouldn’t be super blessed by your expression of appreciation. They know their approval comes from God, but they crave a pat on the back now and then like anybody else.
Step 2: Understand that most pastors didn’t sign up for the job to make money. They accepted a divine call, often at great sacrifice to self and family. More often than not, they’re grossly underpaid (you may never hear about those late nights or the incredible pressure placed on their shoulders). A monetary gift of any size speaks volumes, and makes a bigger difference than you might think.
Step 3: Get to know your pastor throughout the year. Learn what he or she likes, including hobbies and interests that go beyond the ministry. Does your pastor like the great outdoors? How about a gift card to Bass Pro Shops? Is your pastor a voracious reader? Consider a gift card to Barnes and Noble or Amazon. What kind of food does your pastor love to eat? Maybe a gift card to a certain restaurant would do the trick. Not only are such expressions of appreciation practical, but they also demonstrate thoughtfulness.
Step 4: Consider your pastor’s family. Often overlooked, these precious ones experience the same blessings and strain as the pastor—more often, the strain. If you can figure out how to bless the family, the pastor is also blessed. Are the children young? Arrange a date night complete with babysitting by trusted individuals. How long has it been since your pastor was given a Sunday off (and the week surrounding)? If you’re on the board, or if you know someone who is, secure a guest speaker and make it happen. Better yet, see to it that the pastor is afforded quality time with his or her family throughout the year.
Step 5: Write a note of thanksgiving to your pastor, and don’t forget the chaplains in your area. Remind your pastor of the difference he or she has made in your life. Demonstrate to your pastor that you won’t take their efforts lightly—you’ll have their back for the long haul and show appreciation November through September, too. Step up and surprise your pastor by volunteering to lead a new ministry or help with an existing one. Commit to arrive early or stay late at worship services and church functions when the pastor is often alone to do the preparation and cleanup. Showing up and offering to help may more than any card or letter ever could.
Step 6: Help us create a visual representation of gratitude by participating in our word cloud project. This one is created from words shared in response to “I love my pastor because …” by our CHOG Ministries employees. Would you send us your words? We want to add to this and share it on our website! Just send your completion of that sentence to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember, pastors aren’t perfect. The loneliness, discouragement, and fear you sometimes face can be a struggle for spiritual shepherds, too. But you really can make a difference. So, you appreciate your pastor? Then…