Considering this is my first post on this new platform, I am a pastor, and October is pastor appreciation month; I though it would be nice to share a few things that make me as a pastor feel most appreciated. I cannot speak for every pastor, but I would assume what will be shared in this post will be true for every faithful pastor.
Three easy ways to share your appreciation for your pastor:
First, pray for your pastor. Perhaps this goes without saying so let me add, and let him know you are praying for him. Recently our church restructured our midweek service. At the end of our Bible study we have a time of corporate prayer. Around the room we will have several groups praying over the needs of our church and members. It is an encouraging time. I am always blessed when I am praying with a group and am prayed for by the members of that group. The encouragement brought about by those prayers cannot be put into words. Your pastor labors for you week in and week out. He bears burdens for you that you likely are unaware of. The most appreciative thing you can do for him is pray for him and his family. Ministry is difficult and often lonely, and knowing there are members who are interceding on our behalf is a wonderful encouragement.
Second, simply tell your pastor how much you appreciate the work he does. This simple act will encourage and uplift him. A few weeks ago I was approached by one of our deacons before service. This man lost his mother the day before I preached my first sermon at our church, and we had not yet met. My first day in my new office, I called him on the phone and prayed for him and his family. This deacon took time out of his Sunday routine to remind me of that call, and with tears in his eyes he told me he loved me. We embraced at the back of the sanctuary prior to the beginning of the service with tears streaming down our cheeks. That will be a moment not soon forgotten by this pastor. You do not need to buy an elaborate gift or even write a card. Telling the man who labors for you that you love him and appreciate will encourage him, and aid his resolve during times of trial in ministry.
Third, support him. Supporting your pastor is perhaps the most public way of showing your appreciation for him, and it may take a variety of roles. Support does not mean saying “yes” to everything he proposes, or even liking everything he does; he is human after all. Supporting him does mean addressing those who are gossiping or defaming your pastor. Support does mean participating in ministry opportunities. Support does mean caring for him and his family. A pastors job is to lead his flock, this means often smelling like the sheep. For most pastors this is an absolute joy, but also very difficult at times. Supporting your pastor as he loves and leads will encourage him and strengthen him as he ministers to you. About year two into my pastorate we were experiencing a difficult season. We were transitioning from the dearly beloved King James Version of the Bible and there was a staff turn-over. In this season there were many things that were said that hurt. They were personal and downright false. We lost a number of sweet people during this time, but it was at this point one of my members was most encouraging to me. A long time police officer, this member grabbed me on a Wednesday night and whispered in my ear, “I got your ‘six’ preacher!” Nothing more needed to be said. Take a moment and tell you pastor you have his ‘six’.
For nearly five years I have had the privilege of pastoring North Oaks Baptist Church. During this time there have been seasons of depression, heart ache, and loneliness. I have learned the role of a pastor is not glamorous, but it is glorious. Had it not been for those members the Lord providentially blessed me with, who prayed for me, told me they loved and appreciated me, and showed their support for me, I would have easily given in to the stresses of the calling. Pastor Appreciation Month is more than a time to write a note and give a gift card (even though these are appreciated), it is a time do remind your pastor that you are praying for him and that you support him as he labors in love for you.
To all the pastors out there, thank you!