This Sunday, October 9, is Pastor Appreciation Day. The whole month is also called Pastor Appreciation Month. Usually, I see this pop up and I don't pass it on, because it feels like as a pastor's wife, I'd be grubbing for something for my husband, and, by extension, myself. But this year, I realized that if I'm not advocating for pastors to be appreciated, who is?
The truth is, the men and women who serve our churches as pastors are working longer hours than you realize, wearing more hats than you can imagine, carrying more burdens than you could understand unless you've been in a pastor's family yourself.
So, if you have a pastor whom you appreciate—even sometimes or a little bit!—let them know it. They don't need a mug or a plaque or a plate of cookies. Don’t even spend any money at all. Just tell them you’re thankful for them. They need to hear that more than you know.
Here are ten ways to do it.
10. Write a note. I won’t say “send a card,” because that might involve a trip to the Hallmark store. Just pick up any old piece of paper lying around the house and write some heartfelt words on it. If you don’t have a stamp, leave it in their box at church.
9. Leave a voicemail. So many voicemails pile up in a pastor’s inbox—how about calling to simply say, “Don’t call me back. I just wanted to let you know I appreciate you!”
8. Offer to visit someone. Your pastor probably has a list of ten people in the hospital or nursing home right now whom he or she would love to have time to visit. Why not offer to stop by on behalf of the church? You’ll make the person’s day, and your pastor will appreciate it, too.
7. Volunteer to join the usher team, paint a hallway, teach a Sunday School class, fix the website, join the choir, sing in the praise band, work in the nursery, fold bulletins, plant flowers, cut communion bread. “Church” is supposed to be everybody’s job—what’s yours?
6. Start a ministry. Organizing the church to love people outside the church doesn’t have to begin with the paid staff. What’s your passion? Talk to your pastor about how you see your church jumping in to doing Jesus’ work.
5. Show up. Pastors know that church is about more than just getting bodies into pews—but it makes them happy when you care enough to come.
4. Tell them what you learned from the sermon. Or what challenged you, or what you agree with, or disagree with, or what changed your life, or even just what you remember. Pastors pour their hearts out every week, and they love to know that someone is listening.
3. Stop the service. Don’t do this without talking to an elder or worship director first! But maybe it could work to stop the service for a moment (after the sermon, so you don’t throw the pastor off their game) just to pray for the pastor publicly. Pastors pray for lots of other folks during church services—who’s praying for them?
2. Remember their children. How to do this depends on how old the kids are and what they’re into. But kids know when people are genuinely interested in who they are. Say hi to them. Ask them about their baseball game or their summer camp. Get to know them. Pray for them. And while you’re at it, get to know the other kids in your church, too.
And the number one way to appreciate your pastor is…
1. Pray for them. Get on your knees (or don’t, because God hears you anyway) and ask God to protect your pastor when doubt, discouragement, stress, and anxiety come his or her way. Ask that God would flourish the ministry of the pastor and of the whole church. Pray however God leads, because He will, and He’ll answer. And this one is so important, don’t stop when Pastor Appreciation Month is over. Keep praying for your pastor all year long.