Every church should appreciate their pastor. Many pastors will never be recognized by the world for the time and effort they put into a church congregation. If they are going to be appreciated it must be done by those within their church. You should take the initiative in your church to show appreciation. This can be done by you personally and corporately by the church. With that in mind, here are some tips you can use to show appreciation for your pastor as an individual and as a church body.
Pray for your pastor. This is not something you can use to show appreciation to him directly, but it is one of the best things you can do for him. If you are praying for him then your personal concern for him will show. Let him know you are praying for him. Tell him directly. You can also follow up with him on any prayer requests he has. If he mentions something for prayer then pray for him and ask how the Lord is working in that situation. Your follow-up inquiry is proof to him you are praying for him.
Become a Friend to Him
Include your pastor in your personal lives as a family. While he cannot go to everyone’s family picnic, you can at least invite him. Have your pastor over to the house occasionally for a meal. Try to include him where you can in your activities.
Make sure the pastor is notified and invited to other church activities and community events. Invite him to church activities? Doesn’t he already know about everything going on in the church? Yes, he does, but that does not always mean he is part of everything going on. If you are part of a larger church you may have certain activities that are designed for senior citizens in your congregation. There may also be Sunday School class events that are not church-wide functions. Your pastor should receive a personal invitation from a member of your group to join in the activities.
Be gracious about the fact that he cannot attend everything and allow him to decline. However, he cannot decline the offer until it is given in the first place.
Serve in the Church
A pastor wants others to grow. He wants to see new Christians serving in the ministry. There is great joy to a pastor when someone gets involved who has previously sat on the sidelines. A great way to show appreciation to your pastor is to be excited about the things he is excited about.
Be specific when you thank your pastor. He needs to know that you were helped by something he said or did. This is an affirmation to him that he is accomplishing his purpose as a pastor. He wants to lead and nurture the congregation that the Lord has given him. If he never knows you are being helped spiritually then he will never feel complete in the work he is doing.
A simple way to do this on a church-wide scale is to organize a card shower for him. Have each family write a note or card for the pastor to present to him at a random church service. Certainly any monetary gifts will be appreciated.
Buy Something Special for Your Pastor
Is there a new hunting rifle or golf club that your pastor has expressed an interest in? What about a particular pocket knife? A special gift does not have to be something expensive. If the church bought the pastor something that he has been wanting, it shows that the church people are paying attention to him and his desires. Keep your ears open for little things that the pastor expresses an interest in. You don’t have to personally get the gift for the pastor if it is out of your budget, but you can be there to provide suggestions when the church is ready to give a special gift.
Honor His Anniversary at the Church
Make a big deal out of his anniversary. The level of excitement can be varied each year, but he should know that you appreciate his years of service. There are various numbers for the average tenure of a pastor at a church, but they all agree that it is sometime between 3 and 8 years. If your pastor has been with you more than a couple of years you should be excited about that and properly show appreciation for his service to you, your family and your community.
Give Him a Surprise Getaway
How long has it been since your pastor felt like he could leave town for 3 days and everything would not fall apart? Would he feel comfortable leaving for a whole week? Many pastors feel like they are on call every day. Pay for a retreat or vacation for your pastor and his family. Have people at the church take care of anything that comes up while your pastor is away.
Suggested options would be a cruise or a couple of nights away in a large city nearby. If your pastor would enjoy getting away from the city and relax, try to find a bed and breakfast or Christian retreat center nearby.
Send Him to a Conference
Though pastor’s conferences are not always relaxing, they are great for refreshment. Conferences give your pastor much needed preaching on a level that is targeted to him. He is constantly preaching and disseminating information. It is a spiritual boost to have someone preach to him.
Remember that this is often not a vacation. Conferences are usually not restful places even though the pastor is away from his daily responsibilities. Pastors enjoy the fellowship and the knowledge that others are dealing with the same issues he is, but there is also a schedule that keeps the pastor busy and learning. It would be a shame to give him the gift of a conference but then strip away some vacation time for him and his family.
Buy Him a New Suit
Churches expect their pastor to dress nicely. However, have you considered the cost of a nice suit? The church can purchase a new suit for their pastor occasionally. This is especially helpful if you have a young pastor who has recently graduated from Bible college. Make sure the money or gift certificate is sufficient to cover the cost of a suit. If your church cannot afford a good suit then give him enough money for a nice shirt and tie. The dollar amount is not as important as knowing the church appreciates him and wants him to have a gift he probably would not buy on his own.
Honor Your Pastor’s Wife
You will show great appreciation to your pastor if you show love and respect to the person he loves most in this world. Respect your pastor’s wife and do something special to honor her. While she is not the public figure in the church that her husband is, she often bears as much of the stress and emotional burden that the pastor carries. Your pastor will know you love him when you love who he loves.
Show Your Appreciation
Take time to show honor and appreciation to your pastor and his family. Many pastors, whether they work at the church full time or are bi-vocational, put in many more hours than the church office is open. They spend time visiting the sick and dealing with crisis situations that can’t wait until the next day. Showing appreciation for the uncertain events of the ministry helps a pastor stay excited for the work the Lord has called him to.
Has your church done something special for your pastor? Share some of your suggestions and ideas in the comments below.