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Pastor Appreciation Month

October is known as Clergy or Pastor appreciation month. I happen to be one of those pastors who gets embarrassed by the ‘fuss’ while also deeply appreciating every kind display of love.

I can’t speak for all pastors, but I am so blessed by our congregation in so many ways. There are times I may feel lonely or beat up, but thank God, it’s not (usually) their fault and I have so many who will encourage and bring joy.

For today, I thought I would share some ideas that would mean a lot to me and very possibly the pastor in your life. You’ll also be glad to know that this is a very holy list of 7 items so you are welcome.

Please note: I refer to pastor from here on out in the masculine (i.e., “him”) for both grammatical purposes and to make it easier. These forms of appreciation, however, could be shown to a male or female pastor.

  1. Be an Active Listener. One thing ministers spend a lot of time on is teaching and preaching. Well, the actual time doing it is normally minimal compared to the study and prayer time that goes into one 30-60 minute sermon. In my church, I encourage a response such as “amen” but you could also take notes to show you’re listening well or simply showing with your body language that you’re actively listening. This just shows you appreciate the time put into this service.
  2. Acts of kindness. Now, a new car and a trip to Australia would be cool, but I don’t think most pastors expect an Oprah giveaway in order to feel appreciation. Helping with an errand or two, babysitting, a meal, yard work, helping his family, etc.—it’s not hard to be kind in some way. It may take planning, but it will be appreciated. As a gentle side note, don’t offer something then make the pastor beg you to do it later or never make yourself available to complete what you offered. I know your heart’s in the right place, but it’s not very kind.
  3. Note of encouragement. I say a note, but it could be an email or a phone call depending on what form of communication he prefers. Still, pretty special when someone takes the time to write something out these days. It could be a general ‘thank you’ note or for a particular service or sermon. I encourage you to get specific with what you liked or how a sermon ministered to you or a story about how he helped you. It’ll go a long way when the path gets darker to know there are encouragers with you.
  4. Get excited about what he’s excited about. More than likely, ministry is exciting to your pastor. If he sees someone energetic and faithfully going after the vision of the church, he will feel intensely appreciated! I don’t mean fake it or be over the top, but it will bless your pastor if you—come ready for your children’s church lesson, excited about what God is going to do, and expectant at what they’ll receive. Carrying a vision can be really hard. When others get excited with you, it’s so contagious.
  5. Be loyal. This doesn’t mean put your ‘perfect’ pastor up on a perfect pedestal. I know I don’t belong there, but what I’m talking about is giving him the benefit of the doubt.  Don’t dump on him when someone else puts him down. Don’t talk behind his back about his faults and failures. Don’t turn on him at the first whiff of trouble. Your pastor may never know that you stood up for him or at least walked away when others bashed, but I can tell you he will deeply appreciate this nonetheless.
  6. Pray for him. Knowing that you pray regularly and often for him will be a huge encouragement to your pastor. If he’s open, offering to pray with him about things he faces or concerns can mean a whole lot too. The more prayer, the better. Pray for him at your home, before/during/after services and teaching. Pray for him on a boat. Pray for him with a goat… sorry, slipped into Green Eggs and Ham there, but you get my point! Right, Sam I am?
  7. Thank him more than just October. Many churches spend a lot of resources in October thanking ministers, but the encouragement is most definitely needed throughout the year. When you feel sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, you could probably make a safe bet that your pastor may be feeling the weight too. Ministry is a beautiful burden, but it can be difficult at times. When things get darker, people sometimes tend to point fingers rather than encourage or appreciate. Acts of kindness, prayer, and loyalty are great in October, but they may be even better in May or June. God knows and He’ll help you remember if you let Him.

What other ways could you honor ministers in your life? If you are a pastor, what has meant the most to you?

22 Comments

  1. All of them are great. I would think that praying for them is the smartest/best thing to do. It’s what I appreciate the most.
    Michael recently posted..Cable- Internet- and BearsMy Profile

    • Prayer really is huge! It’s the unseen thing that makes so much difference. Thank you Michael.

  2. I’m glad I caught this on my dashboard this morning. I didn’t know October was pastor appreciation month! I didn’t even know there was such a thing! Thank you for the concrete, usefuly suggestions. I have to admit, I have never prayed for my pastors (egads, I know!) — I think I assumed they had a direct line to the Big Guy and didn’t need prayers from me.

    I’m going to start praying for them…and also do one or two of these other suggestions on your list (and not just in October).

    Thanks, Jason. Happy Pastor Appreciation Month — I sure appreciate YOU and your wise, astute thoughts on this blog!
    Michelle DeRusha recently posted..Here on EarthMy Profile

    • Ahh, thanks for the encouragement Michelle! And I know you’re pastor will appreciate the prayers. 🙂

  3. I try real hard to just be a friend and a place for my pastor, or friends who are pastors, for them to be themselves. Praying for you Bro’

    • What a blessing, Jay! To have a friend who can be counted on is such a wonderful joy. Thanks so much--great thoughts.

  4. Jason: I are a pastor and i will take all the gift cards, all the money gifts, all the free trips to Alaska anyone want to give me. And if that doesn’t work, I will still serve. 🙂 Just kidding, of course about the gifts. While nice and I appreciate them, I prefer the year ’round spirit of working together. Let it be known though that I will not turn away anything free. LOL
    Bill (cycleguy) recently posted..Pursuing WorshipMy Profile

    • I hear ya, Bill. 🙂 Free is good! Thanks and I appreciate you.

  5. Great list… One thing I strive to do having grown up as a preacher’s kid and recognizing how lonely a pastoral position can be… I try to be a non-judging friend. After all, pastors are human. They are going to fall. They are going to struggle. They need to have someone they can call on without being criticized during those times.

    Loving people applies to the body loving the pastor too!
    Dusty Rayburn recently posted..The Names of God- AdonaiMy Profile

    • Amen to that, Dusty. Thanks!

  6. I didn’t go to church yesterday, because I was sick. I bet my pastor appreciated that. 🙂 Just kidding. Our church put together a little slideshow because this is the 10th year our pastors have been here.

    To add to these suggestions, I would say not to forget the other pastors in the church. Every year our senior pastor & youth pastor get recognized, but they completely pass over the worship/college age pastor & the children’s pastor. I know they’re working just as hard as the others.
    Melissa Brotherton recently posted..The Next Top Iron Pastor AmericaMy Profile

    • Absolutely! Great suggestion. Thanks Melissa. 🙂

  7. Great list Jason. I want to thank you for your ministry on this blog. You are a huge inspiration to me!

    • You’re a great encouragement to me’ too, Tony. Thanks!

  8. Thanks for this bit of info, didn’t know about Pastors appreciation month but I felt a leading to bless my Pastor yesterday after church and now I am glad I did. And yes, it is such a lonely place to be sometimes . .. Pastoring I mean. God bless all the pastors out there, we love you!

    • Thank you so much for sharing and dropping by. much appreciated! Blessings!

  9. Great stuff Jason, I couldn’t agree with you more on these. I would add (1) the church should make sure the pastor’s family life is a priority and (2) we need to hold pastors in the highest esteem of love and respect because of their work (1 Thess. 5:12-13)

    • Excellent additions. Thank you Ryan!

  10. Great list. We already in our prayerteam pray every time for our pastors. We tell her and him that we appreciate them and when we have coffee after the sermon we always have a laugh. It’s a joy to be with them. Never thought about helping them privately. But I can surely send them a card now and then telling them I appreciate them. Just like you. You are amazing. And so is Andrea.

    I just let Michael know I won’t be on the internet that much anymore because there is not much time. Will try to read the posts but I have to make a choice and internet is wayyyyy down on my list I can’t even see it.
    Will you tell her I appreciate her and her posts? I still keep praying for you all, that will never change. Bye bye.

    • Thanks Ani. Totally understand! We’ll be blessed whenever toucan check in. 🙂 we appreciate the prayers immensely.

  11. There’s a pastor appreciation month?!? 😉

    For me, the greatest way I feel appreciated is through words of encouragement.
    Kevin Martineau recently posted..The gap between knowing and doingMy Profile

    • Well, I hope you receive plenty because you are a great encourager, Kevin. 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Michelle DeRusha - How to thank your pastor -- useful advice: RT @br8kthru: 7 Ways to Encourage a Pastor http://bit.ly/dhabrm
  2. SandraHeskaKing - RT @NEgraceful How to thank your pastor -- useful advice: RT @br8kthru: 7 Ways to Encourage a Pastor http://bit.ly/dhabrm
  3. frank friedl - RT @NEgraceful: How to thank your pastor -- useful advice: RT @br8kthru: 7 Ways to Encourage a Pastor http://bit.ly/dhabrm
  4. Jay Cookingham - 7 Ways to Encourage a Pastor http://bit.ly/cTBLij /cc @feedly
  5. Dusty Rayburn - RT @br8kthru: 7 Ways to Encourage a Pastor http://bit.ly/dhabrm
  6. Zee Kleshchar - RT @dlrayburn: RT @br8kthru: 7 Ways to Encourage a Pastor http://bit.ly/dhabrm
  7. Robert Hartzell - 7 Ways to Encourage a Pastor « Connecting to Impact: I can't speak for all pastors, but I am so…
  8. Robert Hartzell - 7 Ways to Encourage a Pastor « Connecting to Impact: I can't speak for all pastors, but I am so…
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  10. Jason Stasyszen - RT @diam0ndhead94: RT @dlrayburn: RT @br8kthru: 7 Ways to Encourage a Pastor http://bit.ly/dhabrm <<thank you both!
  11. Dusty Rayburn - RT @br8kthru: RT @diam0ndhead94: RT @dlrayburn: RT @br8kthru: 7 Ways to Encourage a Pastor http://bit.ly/dhabrm <<thank you both!<<welcome!
  12. Jason Stasyszen - RT @herbhalstead: RT @br8kthru: 7 Ways to Encourage a Pastor http://bit.ly/dhabrm <<thanks Herb!
  13. Jason Stasyszen - New Blog Post: 7 Ways to Encourage a Pastor http://ow.ly/19oCZW
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