Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
I grew up in a denominational church. We attended faithfully every Sunday and participated in the church service.
This devotion to church was out of obligation and a family expectation. Sadly, I went through the motions but didn’t get much out of the experience because it was mandated.
And I have to admit there was a bit of resentment on my part for being forced to do something that I didn’t want to do, nor did I enjoy it. I was a kid.
Then a few decades later, a friend took me to a church that completely changed, not only my desire to participate in a church service but my life.
The pastor preached a message from the Bible that was inspiring. His teaching provided me with a better understanding of God’s word and how practical it is for my daily life.
Attending this church service changed the trajectory of my life and I have not been the same since.
How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?
And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?
And how shall they hear without a preacher?
The next several years of my life were sitting under the teaching of a great man of God who was committed to sharing the good news.
I will be forever grateful to this man and his family for helping me transition from a churchgoer to a Christ follower.
What A Great Job!
As I became a Christ follower, I attended church whenever the doors were open. I yearned to learn everything I could.
And as I sat through service, after service, I remember thinking, “what a great job that must be to only work the weekend and preach…”
I honestly thought that was a dream job.
After about 10 years I felt called to help this church. I quit my corporate job and took a full-time position with the goal of sharing my business acumen to help with church operations.
It was at that point when I saw the very real challenges that come with pastoring a church.
I now laugh at my uninformed thoughts about “only working Sundays..”
It Is Not Easy Pastoring A Church
I learned very quickly the many challenges that come with the responsibility of pastoring a church.
The issues of finances – trusting that God will provide.
The issues with members – some demanding, some who deal with life’s most difficult moments, and some with mental illness.
The issues with culture – the societal pressures to suppress the Word of God so the world does not attack you.
The challenge of staying strong – is the need for consistent prayer and time in the Word when so many other issues pull at your time.
The loneliness that comes with the role – there is a saying that it is lonely at the top. This is even more true for pastors who carry the weight of a thriving ministry.
The issue of exhaustion – Pastors give it their all 24/7 and have moments of total exhaustion.
It wasn’t until I worked on a church staff that I realized the difficult job pastoring could be.
Those things behind the scenes (no one knows about) can take a toll on those who are called to lead a church.
For instance, we know pastors get calls in the middle of the night when a member’s family is in crisis. They are expected to be there for their members.
Pastors often have to play referee when there is conflict in the church, and many experience discouragement because they feel like they are not doing a good enough job.
The job is demanding, and sometimes it takes great faith to believe there will be enough money to pay the bills.
Pastors deal with all of these challenges because they understand that is part of the call.
Pastors often hide their feelings when things are not ok. This is because they feel the need to put on a good front.
After all, if they don’t have faith, how can they inspire others to believe?
However, as members of a local church, we also need to recognize these very real challenges and show appreciation to those who lead us spiritually.
Celebrate Pastor Appreciation Day
Pastor Appreciation month is October and Pastor Appreciation Day is Sunday, October 9th.
I’m not really a fan of Hallmark holidays, but I do think devoting a day to celebrate our pastors is time well spent!
Now might be a good time to put a plan in place and rally the church to show your pastor just how much you love and appreciate him!
8 Ways To Show Your Pastor Appreciation
1. A Handwritten Note
We, as a society has lost the art of handwritten notes. Out of a desire to be efficient with our time, we will draft a quick text or email.
However, a handwritten note is a treasure for the recipient.
Let your pastor know how much he means to you and your family. Share how he or she helped you and your family grow spiritually.
Give examples of times when he or she was there for you and may not have even known that his presence spoke volumes to you and your family.
Perhaps your pastor was there when your teenager was struggling. Let him know how important he or she is in your life.
Take the time to write a handwritten note and express your gratitude to your pastor.
2. Gift Cards
Gift cards are always a good choice if you simply want to bless someone. Find out what your pastor’s favorite hobby is and pick up the tab to enjoy his hobby.
For instance, if your pastor loves to golf, give him a round of golf on you.
Let him do his own shopping by gifting him with a shopping spree.
Or find out what kind of food he enjoys and purchase a gift card to his favorite restaurant.
Either way, your pastor will appreciate shopping or enjoying a great meal on someone else’s dime.
3. Plan A Celebration At Church
Pastor’s appreciation day is a great time to have a party. Plan a celebration after church on October 9th and invite members to participate.
Call out the ladies of the church to share their best recipes and organize a luncheon for all.
Use the youth group or children’s church to create artwork or write notes of thanks to the pastor. Use these works of art as decoration for the event.
4. Video Testimonies
Call on your youth group to organize video testimonies. Have them set up a place to videotape outside the church and ask members to share their appreciation on camera.
Have them ask direct questions, like:
- What is one thing the pastor has done to help you grow in your Christian walk?
- How has your life changed under the pastor’s teaching?
- In what ways has the pastor supported you and your family during a difficult time?
Incorporate these videos into a church service to let your pastor know how much he is loved.
5. Ask Members To Share During A Church Service
Recruit church members to share a testimony during the church service on October 9.
Identify a member or two who are comfortable speaking in public and who have a story to tell.
Try to schedule a rehearsal prior to the service to work out all of the kinks so that there are no surprises when the message is delivered.
6. Yard Work
Pastors work every weekend when most of us are home doing yard work.
Recruit a team to do some fall yard work. Rake the yard, cut the grass and freshen up the landscaping.
Bring in some mulch, weed the flower beds, and plant some fresh fall flowers.
Your pastor and his family will surely enjoy driving home and seeing a freshly manicured yard.
7. Gift of BabysittingMany young pastors are raising small children.
If you are like me, you would be shocked to learn how much a teenager charges to care for children.
Give a gift of free babysitting so a pastor and his wife can go on a date – without the kids.
If you can, offer to keep the kids overnight and let them enjoy time together as a couple escaping those parental duties.
Churches offer sabbaticals to pastors as a way to thank them for their service and to offer them a time of refreshing.
You might be surprised at what a difference some focused time away from ministry might have for the man who is leading your church.
Don’t Let Your Pastor Burn Out
It is a sad fact but pastors are burning out and quitting at a record pace.
According to a Barna report, “the percentage of pastors who have considered quitting full-time ministry within the past year sits at 42 percent.”
The reason for these numbers is stress, isolation, and political division.
It is our responsibility as church members to help our pastors endure the very real challenges they face.
Take the time now to call your team together and plan for Pastor Appreciation Day so that your pastor knows that he is loved and appreciated for all that he does!