Your church has the opportunity to join thousands of churches across North America in recognizing your pastoral staff in a public and positive way.
From my personal experience as a pastor, I would like to suggest three ways churches can honor their pastors.
1. Recognize Your Pastor Publicly
“Now we ask you, brothers, to give recognition to those who labor among you and lead you in the Lord and admonish you” (1 Thessalonians 5:12).
Respect is rarely more than a noble sentiment. A special appreciation event gives church members an opportunity to articulate their personal expressions of love, respect, and appreciation. At least one of those recognitions needs to be made by a visible lay-leader on a Sunday morning.
If October is not a good time on your church calendar to bless your pastor publicly, leverage a key anniversary or birthday instead.
2. Encourage Your Pastor Personally
“Regard them very highly in love because of their work” (1 Thessalonians 5:13).
Pastoral staff members are more than mere professionals; they are someone’s spouse, parent, and child. Whether they are leading successfully or failing miserably, all pastors need encouragement, love, and respect of their church families. Ask them how you can pray for their family, then follow up with a note so they know you are seriously praying for them.
Treat your pastoral staff like friends or family members because they are both. Provide a listening ear and safe place for your pastors to share their dreams, as well as his nightmares. Will you join me in pouring into our pastors who have so generously poured into us?
3. Bless Your Pastor Tangibly
“The one who is taught the message must share all his good things with the teacher” (Galatians 6:6).
“The elders who are good leaders should be considered worthy of an ample honorarium, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching” (1 Timothy 5:17).
Here are a few tangible ideas to show your pastoral staff you care.
- Express love and encouragement in writing or in person.
- Take your pastor hunting, fishing, golfing, etc. Or provide tickets to a sporting event, concert, or movie.
- Set out a gift basket in October for notes and gifts.
- Mow their lawn/wash their car.
- Provide a night out with a gift card for dinner and childcare.
- Ask them how you can pray for their family.
- Deliver their favorite dessert or meal.
- Take them to lunch.
- Purchase and arrange a couples retreat.
- Bless them with a sabbatical (timeshare donations).
Whether churches do this in October or at another time during the year, LifeWay’s Pastoral Leadership team has provided resources to help you honor and bless your pastors. Free resources for Pastor Appreciation Month are available at LifeWayPastors.com. You’ll find downloadable materials including “33 Ways to Bless Your Pastor,” and an interview with Pastor A.B. Vines about implementing a culture of honor in your church. Other resources include a comprehensive list of discounted hotels, retreat centers, and Bed & Breakfasts.
I hope these ideas and resources help to prime the pastor appreciation pump in your church. Know that your pastor will be genuinely grateful for anything you do.
*This article was originally posted by LifeWay on October 15, 2015. It is reposted with permission.