October 1st marks the first day of Pastor Appreciation Month, which poses an invaluable opportunity for church leaders and members to encourage and honor their pastors. Along with medical staff and teachers, many pastors have functioned as frontline workers throughout the past six months, striving to serve their communities and help those who have been physically, financially and spiritually impacted by the coronavirus pandemic while considering health and safety precautions.
Pastors everywhere are in a uniquely stressful season right now of trying to serve the Lord and their congregation while remaining respectful of social distancing guidelines, oftentimes falling under scrutiny from church members who hold different opinions about how and whether to hold in-person church gatherings. More than perhaps any previous year in our lifetimes, pastors deserve a month of intentional appreciation for all that they have done and continue to do for our communities.
As you seek to show much-needed support to your pastor during this time, consider the five following ways of demonstrating your appreciation:
1. Purchase a Gift Card
Whether it is for their favorite restaurant, book store, or a more practical gift card that will provide them access to tools that make their pastoring positions easier such as to Faithlife, any gift card, no matter the amount, is a meaningful way to honor your pastor, especially when coupled with a thoughtful card or letter.
2. Offer Babysitting or House Sitting
Many pastors have not had the opportunity for a sabbatical or vacation this year because of their extra responsibilities. By offering your services to babysit, house sit or dog sit, you can make it much easier for pastors to enjoy a date night out with their spouse or plan a weekend getaway with the family for a much-needed respite.
3. Send Flowers
Flowers are always a thoughtful surprise to send, especially if you happen to know that your pastor has had a difficult day or week. You can have them sent to their house or church office, where the flowers will serve to brighten up their space for many days.
4. Provide Prayer
Normally, pastors spend so much time focused on the spiritual needs of their congregation that their spiritual cups can run dry. If possible, find a time to personally pull your pastor aside – or virtually connecting – and ask if there is any way you can pray for them. Perhaps they will want you to pray for them right there, or they will draw encouragement from knowing that you are praying specifically for them throughout the week.
5. Volunteer More
Churches depend heavily on their volunteers to fill in the gaps where ministry leaders cannot. Although you may already regularly volunteer in your church, make a point to see if there are additional ways to help out. Lending an extra hand in this way can create a ripple effect. As you free up the time of one member or volunteer, it equips them up to help with other needed tasks.
This year especially, pastors have had to fill leadership roles they never had to before and give up much more of their time and energy, often for little reward. Although seemingly small, these gestures are significant ways to demonstrate appreciation to your pastor for all of their ongoing efforts and daily sacrifices.
Bob Pritchett is the co-founder and CEO of Faithlife, a church technology providing more than 14 premium products to make ministry easier, including Logos Bible Software.