October is pastor appreciation month- so here are 5 super simple ways to encourage them.
1. Acknowledge Their Presence
I know it sounds weird, but so often after stepping out from behind the lectern or off of the stage, pastors feel invisible. People hesitate approaching them. A simple, “Good to see you!” or “Thanks for your message today,” can mean a lot. Talk to them about life outside of Sunday morning. Ask about their family, a hobby they enjoy or a current event in your community. Sometimes pastors can feel like aliens from outer space in their own churches- people don’t talk to them about every day life like they do everyone else.
2. Pray for Them
Pray for your pastor- and their family- and tell them so. It’s a day by day tough call between being present in their family and ministering to the needs of the church. If their nine-year old son is playing his championship game and they get a call that Harold who sits in pew six on the right is being rushed to the hospital, they immediately have to make a tough call- break their child’s heart and leave the game unannounced or risk not being there for Harold soon enough. Neither option is a good one. When they face these tough calls or where to be, what to drop, when to respond, knowing there are others asking God to give them the wisdom and discernment they need can be deeply comforting!
3. Tell Them Thank-You
I’ve heard so many pastors say that Mondays are the worst. Their email inbox is flooded with all of the complaints about the weekend services. Sometimes pastors need to address difficult issues or controversial passages of Scripture. Even if you don’t agree with everything they may have said, a simple, “Thank you for challenging my thinking this weekend,” proves your own spiritual maturity. We don’t have to always agree with our pastor to appreciate their willingness to take a stand and lead on tough topics that revolve more around opinions than doctrine. Sometimes our silence can do more to discourage our pastors than we often realize.
4. Bless Them Unexpectedly
During Pastor Appreciation Month folks often want to purchase a gift, large or small, for their pastor. While your chocolate ice box pie may be to die for, most pastors don’t necessarily want more food. They’ve already devoted themselves to the baking of bread- it says so right in Acts 2:46! Give them a gift card to the local Christian book store- pastors are always looking for study resources and Christian book store owners love to share new products with pastors in their community. Provide event or movie tickets and give them a fun night out!
If you really want to cook for your pastor, make something in a disposable container that doesn’t need to be returned and can be placed in the freezer for an opportune time. That way, when someone shows up on the porch unexpectedly or they need to host an impromptu dinner or dessert, they are ready to go! And, everyone in attendance will know that award winning casserole was made by yours truly.
5. Bless Their Family
Pastors with young children often can’t afford to provide the same things for their children that we take for granted. Sports registrations, zoo memberships, children’s museum tickets. A great day with the family blesses our pastors more than we realize. Gather some families together in your church and splurge for some annual passes to a place your pastor can enjoy with their family. No kids at home? Bless their spouse. If we want to communicate gratitude and love to our pastors- then love their family……
What would you add to this list?
If you really want to bless your pastor, share this post with them and ask their advice on how to bless them. And then do it!
Erica Wiggenhorn is the author of The Unexplainable Church: Reigniting the Mission of the Early Believers, a bible study on Acts 13-28 released by Moody Publishers.