Pastoral leadership is one of the most challenging and rewarding roles a person can experience. It’s filled with mountain-top highs and deep-valley lows. The way God works through the leaders in the church is inspiring. Yet, often, they are left feeling overstimulated, overworked, and lonely if they aren’t careful to recharge and spend time with God.
This article was updated August 2021
Pastors lead, counsel, and teach a specific church community. They provide moral, personal, and religious guidance to those in their congregation. Aside from preparing and preaching a sermon each week, pastors officiate special services, including weddings, funerals, and baptisms.
Some people still wonder, “What do pastors do all week?” They assist with church budgeting and financial matters, they oversee the staff and ministry, and communicate with volunteers and church attenders.
In other words, pastors don’t simply work 9-5 and clock out each day. They are basically always “on” and are available when they’re needed. That’s why it’s especially important to honor and appreciate our pastors.
Most likely, your pastor isn’t asking to be honored during Pastor Appreciation Month because they enjoy doing what God has called them to do. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to do something to show our appreciation for them, especially because of the hard work they participate in.
October is Pastor Appreciation Month, with many churches and parishes celebrating specifically during the second Sunday of the month. Though honoring church leaders has dated all the way back to the early church, it was commercialized in the early 1990’s with an emphasis from Focus on the Family in 1994. Since then, it has continued as a more formal way to appreciate pastors and their families for the great sacrifice and service they do for our church communities.
What Does the Bible Say?
The Bible encourages believers to lift up our church leaders, showing them respect and honor. Below are five Scriptures that express the importance of appreciating those who have taken on the weighty role of overseeing the church.
Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. – 1 Timothy 5:17
And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves. – 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13
Obey your leaders and do what they say. They are watching over you, and they must answer to God. So don’t make them sad as they do their work. Make them happy. Otherwise, they won’t be able to help you at all. - Hebrews 13:17
Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. - Romans 13:7
Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another. - Romans 12:10
Ideas for Celebrating Your Pastor
Pastors (and their families) are often expected to have it all together and to be the ones who encourage everyone else. But they cannot continuously pour out their time, energy, and resources without being filled up. They need encouragement, too.
Pastors often hear the negative comments and feedback much more frequently than positive and uplifting words. “That sermon was a little off this week,” or “You didn’t say hi to me after service,” or “Pastor so-and-so doesn’t take time to get to know me” and the list goes on. Especially in the wake of the pandemic, social unrest, and political extremes, pastors have been under even more stress.
We should honestly be honoring and praying for our pastors throughout the year. But during Pastor Appreciation Month, we can take some focused time to celebrate them. Below are 10 ideas to show your pastor(s) how much you appreciate them.
- Share a nice word. Appreciation doesn’t necessarily have to be anything super extravagant. Pastors are grateful to receive a card or note that simply expresses thanks or says, “I appreciate you.” Send a text or an email with a nice word of encouragement.
- Give them a call. Similarly, a simple phone call won’t cost any money, but it can mean a great deal to a pastor who is used to only receiving calls about how things can be improved or spending hours on the phone counseling people through their troubles. A sweet conversation can help to uplift your leader(s).
- Present a gift card. If you know your pastor loves a certain restaurant or coffee shop, send them a gift card so they can enjoy it on their time. If they like shopping at a certain store or buying things from Amazon, give them a gift card to get something they have been wanting.
- Encourage them to have fun. Send your pastor to a football game or give them a date night out. Purchase tickets to a local show. Whatever activities your pastor enjoys doing, whether it’s hunting or hiking or bowling, nudge them to participate in the fun things.
- Gift them a book. Though this may not seem as sentimental or personal, many pastors enjoy reading and/or read frequently for personal and spiritual development. If you’re unsure which book to get, you could always give them a gift card so they can choose one they’ve been wanting or one that they don’t already have.
- Send them on vacation. Though this may be challenging for one person to do, you can get a group of people and pitch in for a relaxing getaway. We’ve already discussed how hard pastors work, so this would be a great way for them to take a break and recharge. Plus, you can use a text-to-give campaign that will direct the funds to the “appreciation vacation.”
- Make a delicious meal. With the busy schedules of pastors and their families, you can make dinner or drop off take-out one night. This will allow for some extra family time and less stress for them. It will be one less thing they have to worry about and will give them added time to enjoy each other’s company.
- Throw a party. Get together with church staff and volunteers, invite guests, and host an appreciation party for your pastor(s). It can be as extravagant or laid back as you want. Either way, your pastor will have fun and enjoy being around people in a different environment than at a weekend service.
- Offer to help with housework or yard work. These are the things that always need to be done but they can easily be put on the back burner with everything else that’s going on. If you don’t have time to pitch in with the labor, consider hiring a professional house cleaner or gardener to take over some of their household tasks.
- Celebrate during service. Set aside time to acknowledge your pastor during the church service. Perhaps during announcements somebody can take time to honor them by sharing some nice words and praying over them. Consider even having a church get together or lunch/potluck after the service to continue the celebration.
- Pray for them. I know we said we would share 10 ideas, but this one is something you can do all year long, every day. Of course, pray for them during Pastor Appreciation Month, but your pastor can use the prayers throughout the year. They need encouragement, they need peace, they need wisdom and guidance. Don’t forget to continually keep your pastor in prayer.
We hope you enjoy celebrating and honoring your pastor this year. May they feel appreciated for all that they’re doing to further God’s Kingdom here on earth.
Your Pastor Will Appreciate e360 ChMS
Every pastor appreciates a church that's running smoothly with leaders, staff members, volunteers, and congregants all staying in the loop. Your church administration and communication will get a whole lot easier with e360 ChMS, Ekklesia 360's church management software solution. Connect your database, church communication, website, and online giving with this intuitive software. Try it free today!