For decades now there has been a concerted effort in October to express appreciation for the minister in your life. Perhaps 2020, with its Covid-19 cancel culture, face shields, and social distancing, frames the need for expressing appreciation for your pastor and other ministers more acutely than at any time in history. Plenty of studies are rolling out that speak to the pressures leaders are experiencing with the many facets of Covid-19 and their impact on life as we know it.
As Sharon and I travel the state, we take note of the many godly men who lead our local churches. The most captivating thing we witness is how much our ministers honestly care about the people in their churches. These men are not mere hirelings, but servants of the Most High who are called to serve Him by serving the local church.
How can fellow believers in a local church demonstrate their appreciation for the faithful man of God who has helped people make the decision to become Christ-followers, cared for families, grieved with people in times of loss, interceded during sickness and trial, and articulated a word from the Scriptures on a consistent basis? He teaches you about missions and cooperation with other believers to reach the community as well as places further away. He does other things in the community to demonstrate the potential of gospel transformation.
Your pastor has attempted to lead you to be people of God on mission with God in the context of a historic pandemic that still rages. Some have contracted the virus. Some have gone home too early. No one, not even the President, is exempt from contagion. Others have helped family members, neighbors, and work associates.
What not to do
• Don’t think your act of kindness will go unnoticed. Faithful pastors cherish the small things. I still have files that hold kind, handwritten notes from people, especially children, expressing their love for their pastor.
• Don’t attempt to show your appreciation by taking him to lunch, only to corner him with concerns you have about the church. That is not appreciation; it’s manipulation.
• Don’t think you have to do this alone. You may need to take the initiative, but there are others in the church who want to bless him, too.
• Don’t be stingy. A tight fist is Judas-like. He was always so concerned about the purse. Jesus was openly generous with His love, His honest care, and His heart-felt concerns for people. Your generosity with an open hand is very much like Jesus, whose hands were open.
• Don’t send an email or text. If you want your gift to be highly appreciated, step out of the norms of everyday communications and send a short note of appreciation with a gift card. Never send coupons — too cheesy.
What kind of ideas have you
heard from other churches?
1. How about organizing something with your fellow church members to do something extraordinarily nice for your pastor and his wife. A really good gift might be difficult to give, but with a group “pitchin’ in” it can really be something special.
2. How about a “Currency Tree,” where people staple money to a tree branch. That also could be done with a basket of handwritten letters or cards.
3. Unless he is a farmer, too, how about a half side of beef? I’ve never seen a pastor be so excited about appreciation as those who were blessed with their favorite foods. In some places I served, some ladies used their grandmother’s recipe to make pickled beets for me. Do you think for a minute I don’t ask the Lord to bless those ladies big? But they found out first what I liked, and WOW – they delivered the appreciation message!
4. Find out what Bible software (e.g., Logos) your pastor uses for study and buy him some new study materials to extend his library.
5. How about a weekend getaway with his precious wife. Don’t leave them hanging with the cost or with child care.
6. A bonus check is always appreciated. I read in the corporate world that a 1-5 percent bonus on top of a person’s salary is not uncommon. The financial security you provide for your pastor and his family invigorates his resolve to be the best pastor he could possibly be.
7. Your attentive presence is one of the greatest gifts you give your pastor. In COVID-19, there is the little voice in the back of every pastor’s head saying, “Will they ever come back?” Don’t disappoint him by staying remote. If you must maintain remote worship, communicate with him you still want to be with the people of God when you possibly can.
I know this is the mid-October Pathway and half the month is over already. But let’s seize what is left of the month to bless, to express appreciation for your minister.