It is October which means that it is Pastor Appreciation Month. Why? I have no idea. Much like my confusion around National Bird-Feeding Month (February), National Guide Dog Month (September), and National Novel Writing Month (November), I’m not exactly sure the origin or the timing.
Some churches go all out, and some churches aren’t even aware it is a thing. You can find all kinds of helpful ideas like this or like that to bless your pastors like getting book gift cards, gathering encouraging letters, or organizing a date package for him and his wife.
All that is great. Pastoring is hard at any time, but it is definitely been extra challenging in recent years. Any effort at any time just to say thanks might go a long way to encourage your pastor. According to one survey, 29% of pastors are seriously considering quitting after the last 18 months.
All that to say, anything you can do could make a big difference in encouraging those who seek to encourage you.
As a pastor, while I appreciate any type of appreciation, I want to give you an honest opinion about what your pastor wants more than anything else. Are you ready for it?
The best way you can show appreciation to your pastor is by following Jesus more intently.
You might think I’m blowing preacher smoke, but I promise you I am not. I did not enter the ministry for the pay or the perks; I felt a call from Jesus to follow him. I sensed an urging to leave my nets behind for a greater prize – the prize of bringing people along to behold Jesus.
What I desperately want is for our church to follow Jesus.
- I want them to be more than hearers of the Word, but I want them to be doers (James 1:22).
- I want them to walk in a manner worthy of their calling (Eph. 4:1).
- I want them to meditate on God’s Word day and night (Joshua 1:8).
- I want them to pour out their hearts before God in prayer (Ps. 62:8).
- I want them to use their gifts for the work of the ministry (Eph. 4:12).
- I want them to lay aside the sin that is so easily entangling them (Heb. 12:2).
- I want them to prioritize their homes (Ps. 127:1).
- I want them to know they are loved immensely by God (Zeph. 3:17).
- I want them to share the gospel and their lives with others (1 Thess. 2:8).
Pastor John said it this way:
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.3 John 1:4
Feel free to appreciate your pastor in any way that your church sees fit, but if you really want to honor him, change. Grow. Develop. Deepen. Intensify.
I will one day give an account of how I loved and led our church. At the end of my life, that’s really all I can control when it comes to ministry. The appreciation you can show your pastor is by understanding he is keeping watch over your souls, which is what he is most concerned about.
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.Hebrews 13:17