This has been a hard year for everyone, and pastors have carried an especially heavy burden. October is Pastor Appreciation Month, and now more than ever, your pastors — lead pastor, lay pastors and elders — could likely use some encouragement.
Here are 10 easy ways for you, your church or your small group to encourage your pastors this month (and any month!):
1. Write him a note of appreciation.
We rarely get anything in the mail that isn’t a bill or a promotional ad. Handwritten notes are becoming a lost art, but that doesn’t make them any less impactful. Write your pastor a handwritten note of appreciation and mail it to his house or leave it in his office. Involve other members in your church, and have people sign up for a day they will send him a note, so he gets a stream of encouraging letters throughout the month.
2. Volunteer to babysit for the day (if he has children).
Pastors love their kids, but a bit of a break is always nice. And these days, having uninterrupted time with your spouse or time alone can be hard to come by. If you know your pastor well, offer to babysit for him and his spouse for the day. If you don’t know your pastor well, pay for a babysitter with whom they feel comfortable.
3. Pay for a date night for him and his spouse (if he’s married).
A gift card to your pastor and his wife’s favorite restaurant goes a long way. Most people love a good meal with their favorite person. If you pastor is not married, get him a gift card to his favorite restaurant and put enough money on the gift card so he can treat a friend, too.
4. Set up a meal train for two weeks.
The responsibilities of everyday life are hard enough, but they can be intensified in seasons of unique stress. Remove one of those responsibilities by setting up a meal train for your pastor and his family so they have one less thing they have to think about.
5. Give him a care package of his favorite things.
What does your pastor like? Movies? Coffee? Outdoor activities? Create a care package with your small group of things your pastor enjoys doing. If you don’t know what he likes, this could be a great time to get to know him. Ask his closest friends or his spouse what he enjoys doing in his free time.
6. Get him a gift card to his favorite store.
If you know your pastor loves to read, get him a gift card to a bookstore. If he enjoys home projects or landscaping, get him a gift card to a home improvement store. If you’re not sure what he likes, get him a general gift card, or see if he has an Amazon wish list.
7. Make a video of members in your church telling him what they appreciate about him.
We’re commanded to consider how to encourage one another to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24). Our words of encouragement and affirmation are one of the most powerful tools we possess to do this. Have members of your church or small group record themselves on their phone or computer sharing what they appreciate about your pastor, then compile each recording into one video.
8. Buy him a book, a Bible commentary or a subscription to a Bible study software.
Many pastors enjoy reading. If you know your pastor has a book on his reading list, buy it for him. Consider buying him his favorite Bible commentary series, a subscription to a Bible study software or his favorite Christian magazine.
9. Create a prayer journal where all of the prayers are for him.
Gather a group of members to sign up for a specific day they’ll write their prayer for their pastor. Ideally, it would be nice to have one person praying for and writing down their pray for the pastor every day in the month. At the end of the month, collect the written prayers, get them bound and present them to him.
10. Social media shoutout.
With the overflow of unkindness that can come from social media, it’s always nice to see a thoughtful comment — specifically directed at you. A simple social media shoutout of praise goes a long way.
You don’t have to relegate your creative forms of appreciation for your pastor to the month of October. Perhaps your church can set up a regular rhythm of showing your pastor appreciation at different points throughout the year. He can never get too much encouragement.
Too often, pastors get more criticism than encouragement. Listen to this episode — Criticism in ministry: helpful or harmful? — of the We are Send Network podcast to learn more about what pastors can do in the face of criticism.
Published October 13, 2020