October is Pastor Appreciation Month and there’s still plenty of time to show the leaders of your congregation what their work means to you.
From coming up with fresh sermon ideas every single week to being responsible for the administration and spiritual care of congregations, pastors dedicate significant energy and time to their calling.
Here are five ways you can show your pastor—and his family—what it means to you.
Something as simple as a hand-written card can send a strong message. Include information about specific sermons or conversations that encouraged you or helped you. Don’t be stingy with your words. Paying special attention the pastor’s wife and family will show them that you truly understand and value their contributions to your congregation. If you or anyone you know makes art or gifts by hand, these will be truly memorable tokens that come with a clear message, “We’re glad you’re here. Thank you.”
You can also enlist the help of the congregation to express their gratitude publicly. Take an informal poll of everyone’s favorite memories with the pastor and what they admire most about him. Surprise him by having someone read it during the service. If you include personalized attention to the pastor’s family, it will be a home run.
Encourage Self Care
Most pastors know they “should” take more time off, spend more time on their hobbies or leave work on time. However, it can be a real challenge and for many pastors, because it never quite seems like the right time. Give the pastor a coupon for an afternoon or even a Sunday off, and put an expiration date on it. To really go above and beyond, include some movie passes or tickets to an event he will enjoy.
Offer Quality Time with Loved Ones
Hiring a babysitter seems like a simple thing. But many families, especially those with pastors, tend to reserve this for the times they “have to,” like family weddings or evening church functions. Find out who your pastor likes to hire to watch his children and cover the cost for a date night. If you know his family, you can also volunteer for the childcare duties. Find out what he and his family would enjoy doing, as a family or a night on the town. Musical tickets, Christian concert tickets, hotel reservations and new restaurants are just a few options.
Gifts and Experiences
This option has a wide range of possibilities. A great place to start is with gift cards or fresh meat and food subscriptions (especially useful in rural areas). Additionally, ask your leadership to consider paying for the pastor’s wife to attend one of the events for pastors’ wives. If you have a lake house or other vacation property, consider letting the pastor and his family use it for a well-earned getaway.
These experiences can include you, too. Make an offer of friendship or fellowship, such as inviting the pastor and his family over for dinner and games. It’s easy to forget that pastors are people who crave the simple joys of genuine friendship.
Help Grow the Community
Finally, invite friends to church events and programs, making sure to include a compliment of your pastor when you bring them. Pastors want to see the community grow. Let them know how you’re willing to share your gifts and resources to help make that happen.