Did you know that October is Pastor Appreciation Month? You may want to thank your pastor and other church workers but aren't sure what they would most appreciate. As a pastor's wife and Lutheran educator, allow me to share a few helpful ideas with you. Here are seven ways to bless your pastor for Pastor Appreciation Month.
While the entire month is designated for appreciation, if your church hosts a Sunday event for clergy or pastor appreciation, it typically is done the second Sunday in October. While pastor appreciation events are certainly not required, your pastors and other church workers work hard serving God and your congregation, and a little bit of thanks goes a long way.
Pastors Do Challenging Work
Pastors and other church workers face a challenging task. The Bible is clear that pastors will be held accountable for the work they do (James 3:1). Church attendance has been steadily declining in the United States over the past decade, especially in mainline denominations. Satan is hard at work attempting to tear down God's people. While we take comfort in the fact that God will forever care for His bride, the church, these are tough realities that church workers face on a regular basis.
Here are some helpful ideas for how you and your congregation can encourage and minister to your pastor and church workers. Your encouragement strengthens them to move forward with the calling God has placed upon them.
1. A night out
Most pastors and church workers live on a modest salary. A night out to dinner or a movie is a special treat. If your pastor is married certainly include enough for him to take his wife to dinner, and if they have young children consider offering to babysit or add extra funds to the gift for them to hire someone.
2. Money or a gift card
Along those same lines, a gift card or cash is always appreciated. Gifts for groceries, books, cph.org, or simply cash helps your pastor stretch a tight budget or invest in much-needed items for himself.
3. Words of encouragement
This gift doesn't cost you any money and is probably the best one you have to offer. Spoken words are great but written ones are even better because they can be read over and over—especially on those tough days.
Consider having Sunday School or Lutheran day school children write cards or draw pictures for your pastor and church workers this month. These are sure to bring a huge smile to his face.
4. House and yard work
When I asked fellow pastor's wives what they thought would be most appreciated, house and yard work came up a the top of their lists, especially for those who live in a parsonage. When the church owns the house, the pastor's family relies on the church for the continual tasks of home repair and he may be hesitant to ask for these things if funds are tight.
Offering to repair or update a much-needed area of the house or yard will go a long way toward making your pastor feel appreciated.
Your pastor and other church workers are regularly under spiritual attack. Your pastor and his family covet your prayers. Take this one step further and tell him you are praying for him. Your words will carry him far and your prayers are powerful (James 5:16).
6. Congregational thank you
Consider hosting a Pastor (or Church Worker) Appreciation Sunday at your church. Typically this is done the second Sunday in October, but another Sunday works, too.
This doesn't need to be elaborate. Having someone stand up at the end of the service and say a few words of thank you and leading a round of applause is a great way to tell your pastor "thanks". A reception with a cake is a nice addition. (And who doesn't like cake?!)
7. Attend church and participate in ministry
When I informally polled pastors and pastor's wives and asked them what they would most like for Pastor Appreciation Month, do you know what they said?
"I most appreciate when people come to church and get involved in ministry."
Your pastor loves and deeply cares about you and your spiritual growth. His heart hurts for church members who are not there. He is continually searching for new ways to bring the Gospel to people in the community who don't know Jesus.
The greatest gift you can give your pastor is to partner with him in this work.
These are seven ways to bless your pastor for Pastor Appreciation Month—and beyond. Let's take some time during the month of October to thank God for the people He has called to lead us, and offer our pastors encouragement and support.