Don’t forget to let your Pastors know how much you appreciate them. Showing small bits of appreciation on a regular basis will let your pastor know that you care.
“1,500 pastors leave their assignments every month in the United States because of conflict, burnout, or moral failure,” according to an article by Ken Sande of Peacemaker Ministries. There are, of course, many reasons why. Not many people know how tough and emotionally draining it is to be a Pastor, and, sadly, Pastors often hear a good deal of criticism.
Since October is Pastor Appreciation Month, here are 8 great ways to send a little gratitude their way over the next few weeks.
But first, here is a list of what NOT to get your pastor:
- Praying hands
Hopefully he/she seeks the Lord for the joy of knowing God, for himself and his family, and for the church. But he doesn’t need another set of “praying hands.”
- A leadership/church book you want him/her to read
If you hand your pastor a book with these instructions, “I really think YOU need to read this book. Please let me know your thoughts,” your pastor will likely not enjoy the book. Your pastor will likely wonder the entire time what deficiency you think he has in his leadership/ministry that he must read about in the book. While he may benefit from the book, it surely won’t be a relaxing read that feels like “appreciation.”
- A tie
I know this sounds cruel, but when he opens the box, he will be thinking, “How many times do I need to wear this tie so it looks like I am grateful?” This is especially true if the tie has Christian fish on it. Or a decorated Christmas tree.
- A Bible
He already has one. If not, you need another church.
- A pair of tickets to a scrub matchup
Many pastors like going to games, but if you are just looking for a charitable way to offload the tickets you don’t want to the worst game on the schedule, please don’t think of your pastor first.
- A card with nothing in it
The workman is worthy of at least a Starbucks gift card.
Here are some better Pastor appreciation ideas!
- Take them to lunch.
Stop by your Pastor’s office and invite them to go grab a bite to eat. Depending on your Pastor’s schedule and time, it may be a good idea to check with their assistant to determine when they have some free time, or perhaps shoot them a quick email or text asking them when they are free the next week.
- Hand-write a note.
This may sound a little cheesy, but hand-written notes are a forgotten practice. Taking the time to actually write an expression of gratitude can quickly make your Pastors feel valued and brighten their week.
Even leaving a post-it note with a quick word of encouragement can go a long way. A note is a quick, easy, and cost-free way to show gratitude.
- Give verbal encouragement.
This is another very simple yet well-received gesture to give appreciation to your Pastor for all they do. Whether it’s on Sunday morning after the sermon or stopping by their office in the middle of the week, telling them verbally how thankful you are for them and all they do is a wonderful encouragement. It’s easy to assume they hear it often, but verbal appreciation for your Pastor can always be reiterated.
- Provide a date night.
Your Pastors spend the majority of their time serving the church in some capacity or another. While they hopefully are able to break away and spend quality time with their family and spouse, it’s often easier said than done.
Offer to watch your Pastor’s kids for an evening to give them the freedom to go on a date with their spouse. Perhaps you can throw in a gift card to the movies for some popcorn and soda. This sounds so easy, but it will mean the world to your Pastor.
- Volunteer your time.
Take something off of your Pastor’s plate. Whatever this might look like in your church and for your Pastor, take some of your time and lend a helping hand.
TIME IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO SHOW A PASTOR YOU CARE.
- Grab them coffee and bagels.
Is your Pastor addicted to his daily Starbucks? Is his weakness a double chocolate chip cookie? Swing by the church office one day and bring the pastoral team a small treat just to say “thank you.”
- Facilitate a special feature in service.
Coordinate with those who plan the services to do a special, fun highlight of your Pastor during church. This could be a Sunday morning special for the whole church to be a part of, a video made showing the congregations appreciation, presenting a group gift, etc. Include some fun photos from the year and perhaps a funny story or two. Make it lighthearted, and remember, the purpose is to let your Pastor know how much they are appreciated.
These are just a few simple ideas to show your Pastor some love this month. Whatever you do, take some time to encourage and thank them!
- Pastor Retreat
As said earlier, pastoral ministry can be very draining. Pastoral retreats can give a fresh perspective and they can help recharge, leading to renewed vision and energy.
Listen to the full podcast on this topic here.