Pastor Appreciation Day was officially Sunday, October 10. You may have missed it, but that’s ok.
Pastor Appreciation Day is always the second Sunday in October, but the entire month of October is celebrated as Clergy Appreciation Month. So, the good news is, you still have time!
Many pastors, perhaps even yours, are exhausted, discouraged, and feel like quitting. Some are predicting a significant exodus of clergy from the ministry in the months ahead.
Pastoral ministry is an important calling and gift to the church. The Scriptures remind us that: “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching (1 Timothy 5:17, NIV).” There may have never been a more critical time to display such honor to your pastors.
How can we do that? Here are three simple but strategic gifts you can give your pastoral leadership:
1. Give Intercession not just Intentions
Give intercession, not just intention. How many times have we said things like, “I’ll be praying for you,” but within minutes, it’s out of sight and out of mind. I’m not suggesting we lie about our prayer habits but sometimes our intentions never turn into intercession.
So, let’s pray. Set a reminder on your phone. Heck. Why not call or email your pastor now, and ask them what you could be praying about, and pray for them right then and there. Imagine if every guy did that today for their pastor. What would happen? Cardiac arrest? Maybe. Or maybe a wave of strength and renewal to encourage the weakest heart. Pray specifically, intentionally, and continually.
Not sure what exactly to pray? Try this:
“Heavenly Father, I thank you today for my pastor and the spiritual leadership you have provided for my life and church. For days that are lonely, provide comfort. For challenges that are great, provide wisdom. For “to do” lists that never seem to end, provide strength. For this day, provide your daily bread of protection, peace, vision, and your abiding presence. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
2. Give Comfort, Not Criticism
Give comfort, not just criticism. In this day of “armchair quarterbacks” and “internet experts”, we are inclined to critique first and ask questions later. We can be like the “Statler and Waldorf” Muppet characters known for their crusty opinions and constant heckling.
Criticism is easy to give and your pastors aren’t perfect, but you aren’t called to point out their weaknesses; you are called to strengthen their hands and lift their spirits.
It’s easy to point out the problems. It’s a spiritual gift to be a part of the solution. So, next time you see your pastor, sincerely thank them for what they do. Write a notecard or send that email of encouragement. Let them know you love and appreciate them.
3. Give Purposefully & Practically
Give purposefully and practically. Let’s not be the “it’s the thought that counts” kind of supporter. Let’s not just be a “thumbs up” emoji kind of supporter. Let’s truly give by:
• signing up to serve at church
• giving a gift card to a restaurant to give your pastor a much-needed break
• writing a hand-written and heartfelt note of appreciation
• provide child care so they can have a night out with their spouse
Find out what your pastor enjoys and bless them. And remember your pastor’s family as well. They are a vital part of their ministry.
After spending thirty years in pastoral ministry and church leadership, I fondly remember those times when people went out of their way to bless our family. My first experience of Pastoral Appreciation Month in the first church where I served was unforgettable. Day after day, we had an outpouring of cards, notes, meals, and desserts. But not only my waistline increased, my appreciation for the people of God and my desire to serve them well increased even more.
Take a moment to appreciate your pastor today – it’s never too late!