October is Pastor Appreciation Month
The Lord has brought to this state, at this time in history, some of the finest pastors in the Kingdom. These men, who weep with the hurting and equip the saints to walk by faith, have humble hearts set on making others successful through ministries of service and preaching of the Word.
Through the years, the challenges of leadership have a way of draining godly men of their physical, emotional and spiritual vitality. They know that the moment they commit to God’s call, the enemy paints a target on their lives. However, faithful obedience in leading the lost to faith in Christ and in making disciples is the fuel that keeps them on mission.
Recently, I heard an amazing statistic in the midst of a rotten economy. The report stated that more than 30 percent of SBC pastors have taken the pledge to lead their churches to send 1 percent more to the Cooperative Program for missions in our state, nation and the world. As many as 16 percent of our churches have followed their pastor’s lead and adopted the incremental increase in funding to cooperative missions. Many of these brave men do so at great sacrifice and inconvenience because they firmly believe in the cause of working with others to reach the people they cannot see with the Gospel.
Because of these faithful men, I encourage you to consider the opportunity to obey the insights shared in 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13, “but we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another” (NASV).
Each October, there is a national initiative to encourage churches to honor their pastors through Pastor Appreciation Month. I’m writing this to you now so you have some time to prepare. There are plenty of ideas circulating that a church can do tangibly to say “thank you” to your pastor and encourage the man of God who encourages you to walk in a growing relationship with the Lord.
Here are some examples:
- Pray for your pastor every day for a week and send Him a note of encouragement.
- Support your church financially and generously.
- Find out the name of a lost person your pastor is praying for and covenant to also pray for this person.
- Recruit a group of people to fast and pray for your pastor on Saturday evenings for a month. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s fullness to be evident in the Sunday services.
- Let his family use your timeshare for a week.
- Take him golfing, fishing or to a ball game. Whatever you think he would prefer.
- Most pastors are readers. So a gift certificate for Amazon, LifeWay or Levenger would be appreciated.
- On Sundays in October, ask him what you can pray about for him this week. Then the next Sunday ask him how things went regarding what you prayed for.
- Encourage your friends to join you in sitting closer to the front during October’s Sunday services.
- Defend him against critics. Every pastor is imperfect and has some people whose expectations are not met by his ministry.
- “Adopt” one of his children as someone you pray for, encourage, and support. Send the child a note expressing your support. When they become adults, too many pastors’ children have a rotten view of ministry and that could be changed by a godly man or woman encouraging a pastor’s child.
- Take notes on your pastor’s preaching and teaching. Such a practice is spiritually healthy and demonstrates that you value what he says.
- Send him a greeting card with a personal message inside and maybe a pre-paid credit card.
- Stop by the church building and grease the door hinges or clean a toilet.
- Make yourself available to take his wife’s turn in the nursery rotation.
- Send a letter of appreciation to his son or daughter who is away at college. Wouldn’t hurt to put a Jackson in the envelope so they can enjoy a pizza while they read your letter to their friends.
- Speaking of pizza, find out what kind of pizza the pastor’s family likes, make sure they are home, order it, pay for it, and have it sent to your pastor’s home.
- When at church, smile. You might even consider an engaging “Amen!” at a significant point in his sermon.
- Babysit his kids so he and his wife can go out on a date or to a conference.
- Look him straight in the eye and verbally tell him you appreciate him and why.
- Never publicly criticize him. If you have a concern or complaint, don’t cowardly talk behind his back. Speak directly to him about it, or better, forgive him and forget it and/or pray for him.
- Give his wife an appreciation gift.
- Listen and have an open heart to his ideas for change. Oftentimes, the value of that change may take months or years to be fully appreciated.
- Post a letter of appreciation on the Pathway website. Let others read about your appreciation of your pastor by going to mbcpathway.com/appreciate.