This year has been a tough year for pastors and church leaders. The pandemic has changed almost everything we do, but pastors have pivoted quickly and worked hard to make adjustments. If ever they have earned appreciation, it’s this year. Here are some ways to show your gratitude during this Pastor Appreciation Month:
- Give your pastor and his family a weekend getaway. Give them a break on somebody else’s nickel – and make sure that time is not counted as vacation! These days, it may need to be a driving trip, of course.
- Do some tasks for him and his family. Rake the leaves. Cut the grass. Wash the cars. Paint a room. Power wash the deck or the house. Do something that helps him.
- Catalog his books. Computer tools allow you to catalog books quickly, but somebody has to do the labor. Save your pastor the work.
- Provide gifts for his wife and children. The church that loves a pastor’s family will have a pastor who loves them.
- Prepare a notebook of “thank you” notes. I still have and cherish a notebook of notes that folks wrote to me as their pastor.
- Give him an Amazon tree. The “tree” might be only a big twig or an artificial plant, but the leaves are Amazon gift cards. Every pastor I know wants more books.
- Make a personal commitment not to speak ill of him – or listen to those who do. Support him in front of others.
- Update and upgrade his office. Paint the walls. Provide new furniture. Replace outdated wall paintings.
- Give him a new computer. If he’s like the rest of us, he’s used his current one for many, many Zoom meetings and recordings this year!
- If you’ve been sitting a while in church, start serving. I assure you he’ll appreciate every believer who gets more committed to God and His work.
- Provide a framed picture of your church building. I have pictures of both churches I pastored hanging on my office wall, and I’m grateful for those congregations every time I look at the pictures.
- Offer five nights of childcare over the rest of the month. Give your pastor and spouse the opportunity to have several date nights this month.
- Give him time and funds to attend a conference he wants to attend. Even if he already receives a conference benefit, increase it for this year.
- Set aside a special day to honor his wife. If you really want to make your pastor happy, focus on his wife instead. A great day for her is a great day for him.
- Send him a video thank you note from your family. Take a few minutes, record a short video greeting and “thank you,” and send it.
- When travel allows again, give him a trip to Israel. Your pastor will never approach the Bible or the pulpit the same way after walking in the Holy Land.
- Make a commitment to pay his costs to earn a doctoral degree. Make a long-term commitment to help your shepherd get that degree he wants.
- Give him and his family a local gym membership. Because you appreciate them, help them live longer by staying in shape.
- Help him participate in his hobby. If his hobby is golf, give him several rounds of golf. If it’s reading, give him Amazon cards. Give him something you know he’ll enjoy.
- Detail his car. Clean it. Wax it. Change the oil. Fill it with gas. Give it back to him with a few restaurant gift cards in the front seat.
- Give him a commentary set, one or two volumes per month. That way, this year’s appreciation gift keeps on giving.
- Have the church’s children write him notes. Few things melt a pastor’s heart like the simple, honest words of children.
- Give him an extra week of vacation. Even if it’s only for this year, he’ll be appreciative.
- Commit to praying for him daily – and then be sure to do it. Let him know you’re doing it, too. He’ll be grateful.
- Ask him, “What can I do to most help you?” You might be surprised by his answer. He might have immediate needs.
What other ideas would you add to this list?
Chuck Lawless is dean of Doctoral Studies and vice-president of Spiritual Formation and Ministry Centers at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC, where he also serves as professor of Evangelism and Missions. Read more of his articles at chucklawless.com