Let’s face it: our pastors are very often underappreciated. Not only do they look after the everyday operation of our local churches, but they take on the responsibility and accountability for the development of our spiritual lives. Theirs is no small task. They are there for the members of their congregations in both the big and the small events of life. They are there for the baby dedications, as well as the funerals. They are there for the weddings, as well as the marriage counseling. They are there week after week for the teaching and training of the saints. They are there to mediate when those same saints are acting more like the sinners that they are.
Despite the all-important role they play in our lives, we are generally quicker to criticize and question than we are to appreciate and encourage them. But now is our chance…. October is 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.
Tell them you appreciate them.
Perhaps the simplest yet oft-forgotten thing we can do for our pastors is to tell them how much we appreciate them and all that they do for us. Find two minutes after the morning worship service to shake the pastor’s hand and offer a heart-felt 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 in to preparing his sermon. Words of genuine affirmation will go a long way to affirming the pastors in the responsibilities to the church and will spur them on to keep on running the race.
Give small, meaningful gifts.
One of the legitimate love languages many people embrace is the giving and receiving of gifts. Sometimes a sincere expression of thanks comes in the form of the giving of meaningful gifts. Get to know your pastor, his likes and preferences, his hobbies and favorite pastimes, and then express your appreciation by offering up a small present you know he would like. Does he get his morning caffeine jolt through a special blend of coffee? Buy him a bag of beans or a gift card to his favorite coffee shop. Is he a sports fanatic? Give him tickets to attend a game played by his favorite team. Is he a bookworm? Find a first-edition or autographed copy of one of his beloved authors. Small, meaningful gifts can be effective in showing that you care enough to take the time to express your deep appreciation for all that your pastor does for you week after week, year after year.
Buy in to the vision and mission of the church.
Pastors and elders of the church take an enormous amount of time discerning the vision God has for your congregation. Pastors are then the stewards of that vision and craft an accompanying mission statement that will guide the local church along a path that will hopefully benefit the congregation and the community with eternal results. Because of all this effort, the vision and mission of the church are extremely important to the pastor. He and his team are therefore held accountable by God for bringing it to fruition. One of the greatest ways members of the congregation can show genuine appreciation for the pastor and his efforts to lead the church is to understand that vision clearly and then buy in to it personally. Become a champion for the accomplishment of that 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. This unconditional support for your pastor and what God has commissioned will be a meaningful expression of appreciation and support.
Volunteer your time and talents.
The best way to support the vision God has given your pastor for your church is to invest personally in the church by volunteering. You may have gifts, skills, and abilities that would be critical in helping to realize the vision. Or, you may have a willing body and spirit that can be used for tasks that require fewer skills. Whatever the assignment, joyful, wholehearted volunteering is an encouragement to your pastor who sometimes has no idea how he will accomplish all that God has called him to do. Your volunteering will also encourage others to be involved, therefore spreading the enthusiasm for the vision and mission and truly demonstrating to your pastor how much you appreciate him and want to be involved in what he is trying to do. You will be blessed, he will be blessed, and ultimately God will be glorified.