October is Pastor Appreciation Month. Do you ever tell or show your pastor you are grateful for his service? We asked 20 pastors in the Michigan District what makes them feel appreciated. The idea was to compile a list of 20 things. However, they had such wonderful examples of ways in which their flocks bless them that we ended up expanding the list.
A few of the pastors expressed a bit of discomfort with the idea of receiving tokens of appreciation and feel awkward when October rolls around with all the fuss. Certainly none of them expects it. But as one pastor said, “Being appreciated is wonderful and confirming that God has placed you where He wants you.”
40 Ways to Celebrate Pastor Appreciation Month
Without further ado, here is the (sometimes humorous) list. Pastors filled in the sentence, “I feel appreciated when…”
- … someone bakes a special cake for me just because they know I like it.
- … I receive a personal note or card expressing appreciation, encouragement, or saying that they are praying for me.
- … people offer to babysit so my wife and I can go out on a date.
- … someone bakes me cookies.
- … people hire a maid to clean our house.
- … someone gives me a gift card or cash.
- … someone asks what I need and then get it for me.
- … people pay attention to the sermon.
- … people are excited to share with me how God is working in their life.
- … people say something positive about how things are going.
- … someone says ‘thank you’ for doing my best, and not for being ‘perfect.’
- … people ask how my family is doing.
- … someone introduces me to the friend they brought to church.
- … someone sits with my wife and kids in church and helps them through the morning.
- … children draw pictures about the message and give them to me after the service.
- … I get gift cards – with the offer of watching our kids — so my wife and I can go out on a date.
- … people invite my family over for dinner.
- … a volunteer anticipates my lack of planning and offers help before I ask.
- … a gift is given to the seminary or a missionary in my honor.
- … someone gives me a cheesehead (!).
- … when someone takes the time to notice and share—either something encouraging or something constructively critical—regarding my own spiritual life. Whenever I see a brother or sister boldly step out of their comfort zone to “pastor” their pastor—I know that God is working just as He’s said and that His Work is including me.
- … people allow my family members to decide their own personal level of congregational involvement.
- … I’m remembered at the anniversary of my Ordination.
- … I’m called when a member is in need.
- … people ask questions in Bible study.
- … I get a hug from the Sunday School children.
- … people reference part of a sermon weeks later.
- … the Ladies’ Aid treats me like their son (grandson).
- … people intentionally leave out the lima beans from potluck dishes because they know I don’t like lima beans.
- … a shut-in holds my hand and prays for me.
- … I am encouraged to attend as many required conferences and continuing education opportunities as needed.
- … I am encouraged to take two complete days off every week, including compensatory time off for busy church seasons.
- … District’s compensation guidelines are adhered to as closely as possible.
- … people don’t hold me up to (any) unrealistic expectation(s).
- … I learn that parents are teaching and modeling the Christian faith with their children at home and everywhere they go.
- … I hear that families are praying for their pastor on a daily basis.
- … people ask me, “Pastor, is there anything I can pray specifically for you, your family, or the ministry?”
- … after having spoken God’s promises in Christ, someone thanks me for being there with them especially through difficult times.
- … when people not only thank me for a sermon, Bible study, etc., but give a specific example of how it really made an impact on them and how God used it to help grow their faith.
- … someone publicly thanks me for my leadership in ministry.
So here you have some wonderful ideas for showing appreciation not only in October, but year round. One pastor said his highest desire — the ultimate token of appreciation — would be to have everyone’s smiling faces at church every Sunday.