Scripture is crystal clear about the importance of honoring our pastors, yet the pastor is often the one who is left to initiate it. I have almost three decades of first hand pastoral experience with this awkwardness since Focus on the Family initiated Pastor Appreciation Month in 1994.
I am writing this post directly to key church leaders to help them take full advantage of this opportunity to create a culture of double-honor in your church this month. Here are four ideas to help prime the pastor appreciation pump in your church this October.
- Own The Initiative
At the end of this post I will share some free tools to help you pull this off, however what good are these ideas without someone to implement them? Will you take the initiative to step up and lead out? If you do, I believe your church will follow your lead and your pastor will appreciate your efforts tremendously.
Aaron and Hur stepped up by lifting up Moses’s hands during a crucial battle: “When Moses’ hands grew heavy … Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other so that his hands remained steady until the sun went down” (Exodus 17:12).
Your pastor needs an Aaron or Hur to do for him what he cannot do for himself.
2. 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 Thess 5:12).
Respect is rarely more than a noble sentiment. A Pastor Appreciation Day or Month can help your church members translate private sentiments into public expressions of love, respect, and appreciation. A public blessing on Sunday morning increases the positive impact exponentially – for your pastor, your church, and your Lord.
3. Encourage Your Pastor Personally
“Regard them very highly in love because of their work” (1 Thess 5:13).
I have pastored churches for 28 years and cannot remember ever having to lead my church through a toxic season like 2020. Your pastor has imperfectly juggled a pandemic, protests, and politics all while being second guessed by many, including himself. Pastors need encouragement every year, but need and deserve it more than ever this year!
Personally write a note or take him to lunch to clarify that he is a beloved member of your church family and not just an employee.
4. Bless Your Pastor Tangibly
The pastor’s job is to take care of his church, and it is the church’s job to tangibly take care of their pastors. Your pastor’s job and joy is to keep watch over you (Heb 13:17), but sometimes he needs you to watch over him – and his wife – as well.
My favorite idea is to leave a blessing basket in the worship lobby on Sundays in October for people to leave cards and gifts for their pastor(s). Here are a few other ideas from Focus on the Family and Care4Pastors to help you to bless them.
“The elders who are good leaders should be considered worthy of an ample honorarium (double-honor), especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching” (1 Timothy 5:17).
October is a great opportunity for church members to honor and bless your pastor(s), but if your church calendar won’t cooperate – do it any time of the year like a key anniversary or birthday.
Whether you are a pastor or member, please forward this post to the appropriate leader(s).
God bless you for blessing your pastor!