Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. —1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 (NIV)
In October we take time out every year to say thank you to our pastors for the hard work and dedication they show their churches and congregations throughout the year. What does your church have planned for your pastor(s) this year? Here are a few simple ways you and your church can show them your appreciation.
1. Pray for them, and then let them know
Our pastors and church leaders are entrusted with making decisions for the church, teaching and preaching the Word of God, and caring for the needs of our congregations, and countless other tasks. It’s a big job, and they need our prayer support. It’s always encouraging to know you have someone in your corner, so pray for your pastors and then let them know they have your support. Send them a card, an encouraging note, or an e-mail, or have a chat with them and let them know you’re thinking about them and praying for them.
2. Give them a gift card
Pastors work long hours and often find themselves in stressful situations. A great way to say thanks is to give them a gift, and gift cards and gift certificates are a great option. Try to think of what your pastor might particularly enjoy or need right now—a dinner with their spouse or family, materials for a project at their house, a massage, a trip to their favorite coffee shop—and pick out a gift card to match.
3. Help build their library of resources
Pastors who preach and teach are always looking for quality resources, and many build their own personal libraries. There are lots of ways you can help your pastor build up their resources. Perhaps they have been wanting some new ministry resource books or commentaries, a subscription to a new Bible study software, or even a new preaching Bible. Be sure to ask your pastor what they would find most helpful and useful. Warner Press is a great option!
4. Share a meal
For Christians, sharing meals is a life-giving practice that builds community. A great way to show your pastor you care is to have a celebratory dinner. You may choose to have your pastor and family over to your house for dinner, or your church may decide to have a pitch-in or potluck or catered dinner and celebrate the service of your pastors and volunteers. Either way, it’s a great way to enjoy good food and fellowship and show your appreciation to the leaders in your church at the same time.
5. Get creative and add a personal touch
When you’re giving your pastor(s) a gift, sometimes it’s hard for everyone to participate in the gift-giving process. If you get creative, there might be ways everyone in your congregation can participate. You could put together an art piece that everyone helps create, a picture everyone signs, or a book where everyone makes a contribution. And the personal touch will make it an extra special gift.
6. Say “thank you” during the service
Because many pastors are so involved in services each week, we don’t always take the time to acknowledge their contributions during our gatherings. Taking just a few minutes for someone in the congregation to give an official “thanks” during a service can help give your pastor(s) the recognition they deserve. And a tribute or thank-you letter in your bulletin or newsletter is a nice gesture, as well.
7. Lend a helping hand
Pastors have busy weeks and work long hours, especially pastors who are bi-vocational and work jobs outside the church. This doesn’t always leave much time for tasks and projects around the house. Would it help if you raked their leaves? Helped them winterize their garden? Fixed the leaky faucet they’ve mentioned? Taking just a little time to help out your pastor can make a huge difference for them and will be much appreciated.
8. Appreciate them all year long!
While October is designated as Pastor Appreciation month, don’t forget to appreciate your pastor(s) throughout the entire year. Be sure to thank them once in a while for what they do, and pray for them regularly. Showing support and love to your pastor(s) every day is the best gift of all.
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