Small treats do send your pastor a message that he’s loved, but sometimes a gesture of appreciation should be on a grander scale. God’s Word says, “Let him who is taught the Word share in all good things with him who teaches” (Gal. 6:6), so here are some good things to try as you “recognize those who labor among you” and “esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake” (1 Thess. 5:12-13).
Appreciate your pastor by being a good church member.
Being a shepherd leader can be hard when the sheep don’t follow. A pastor spends much time praying for God’s direction for his church family and will be thankful for people who are also praying for vision and confirmation. Supporting a new plan is also easier when you’ve prayed over it.
All believers should be kingdom builders, so actively share the gospel in your corner of the world. Too many people are hurting because they don’t know Jesus or they need to be discipled. The preacher can’t reach everyone in your community by himself, so look for ways you can partner with him in ministry. Support his efforts to grow and maintain a healthy church. My husband feels more blessed when someone calls him with thoughtful solutions to a problem instead of just complaints.
Appreciate your pastor by being a good friend.
Each time God moved us to a different area of ministry, He raised up specific women who deliberately chose to be my friend. These ladies loved on our children, shared their tomatoes, helped me decorate the house, and scheduled lunch dates. They knew me as a person, beyond the role of pastor’s wife, and we remain friends after our time at their church ended.
As a pastor’s family, we never expect special treatment, but it is deeply meaningful when people acknowledge the unique challenges of our position and the sacrifices we choose to make for the sake of the gospel and the church. For example, consider all the Valentine’s, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter, and Christmas celebrations your pastoral staff sacrifices because of special church events. We rarely get to share those family-focused holidays with our parents or loved ones and usually end up at home alone. Our children have stayed later than everyone else after Christmas Eve services to help snuff out candles before we could go home and open presents.
Although cell phones and social media provide constant access to each other, we appreciate church members who have reasonable expectations for my husband’s time and mental energy. Let your pastor be a cheering dad at his kids’ ballgames or a great date when he takes his wife to dinner and save the church talk for later. You can also be a good friend to your pastor by being kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving.
Appreciate your pastor by being a good student.
My pastor husband says the best ways a church can appreciate him is to love his family and to listen to him. His favorite compliments are not, “That was a great sermon, preacher!” He would much rather hear these: “Let me tell you about the guy at work I’m witnessing to…” and “I have a question about a passage I read in my quiet time last week…” and “God really convicted me about something during the sermon this morning…” The best way you can show appreciation to your pastor is to learn and grow. That’s why God called him to ministry—to feed and lead His sheep. A church full of people who pray, share their faith, and study God’s Word is the ultimate encouragement to a man in ministry.
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10).