Scripture is crystal clear about the importance of honoring pastors, yet too often pastors are the ones who have to awkwardly initiate this call to action. Although momentum has grown toward Pastor Appreciation Month since Focus on the Family initiated it in 1994, you can assume most of your congregations have no idea it exists, much less what to do with it.
Church leaders, here are four simple ideas to help prime the Pastor Appreciation Month pump in your church this October—or whenever it works best.
1. Own the Initiative
In this post I will share some practical ways to help you pull this off; however, what good are these ideas without someone to implement them? Will you take the initiative to step up and lead out? If you do, I believe your church will follow your lead and your pastor(s) will appreciate your efforts tremendously.
Aaron and Hur stepped into leadership by lifting up Moses during a crucial battle: “When Moses’s hands grew heavy … Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other so that his hands remained steady until the sun went down” (Exodus 17:12).
Will you be the pastor-advocate that your pastor and church needs this year?
2. Recognize Your Pastor Publicly
Respect is rarely more than a noble sentiment in any work environment—church included. A “Pastor Appreciation Day/Month” can help your church members translate private sentiments into practical expressions of love, respect, and appreciation.
“Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to give recognition to those who labor among you and lead you in the Lord and admonish you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:12
A public acknowledgement on Sunday morning increases the positive impact for not only your pastor, but also his family and your church. Sharing that recognition on social media will exponentially increase the impact of that recognition because the pastor’s friends and family see and celebrate it also. It also blesses the Lord when you love, respect, and bless one of His leaders.
3. Encourage Your Pastor Personally
I have pastored churches and pastors for almost 34 years and cannot remember ever having to lead my church through a toxic season like 2020-21. I am the interim pastor in a Tulsa church that is still wading through the muddy waters of the stubborn pandemic. Your pastor has likewise juggled through this difficult season of a pandemic, protests, and politics all while being second guessed by many, including himself. Pastors need encouragement every year, but they need and deserve it now more than ever!
“Regard them very highly in love because of their work.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:13
Personally write a note to your pastor or take him to lunch to clarify that he is a beloved member of your church family and not just an employee. Consider going an extra mile by including each minister’s spouse and children in your Pastor Appreciation Month initiatives because they all carry their fair share of the call. As far as I know, your pastor belongs to the only profession on the planet with the requirement to succeed both at work and at home (1 Timothy 3; Titus 1).
4. Bless Your Pastor Tangibly
The pastor’s job is to take care of the church, and likewise, it is the church’s job to take care of their pastor and ministry staff. A pastor’s job and joy is to keep watch over you (Hebrews 13:17), but sometimes he needs you to watch over him.
One of my favorite ideas is to leave a blessing basket for each pastor/minister for every Sunday in October (there are five this year). Personalize the baskets by putting names on each one and place them in a high traffic area for people to leave fun gifts and notes for them.
“The elders who are good leaders are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.” – 1 Timothy 5:17
October is a great opportunity for church members to honor and bless their pastors and ministers, as well as their spouses and kids. Through the Care4Pastors initiative I help lead, you will find free, helpful daily prayer guides: Care4Pastors.com/DisciplesPray.
If your church calendar won’t cooperate, do it any time of the year—perhaps near a key anniversary or birthday. May God bless you for anything you do to bless and honor your ministry staff and their families.