Pastor Appreciation Month, all 31 days of October, is a time set aside specifically for the Church to express their love and appreciation for their pastors. It certainly shouldn’t be the only time we convey our gratitude for them, but it’s a great time to pause and show our love and appreciation.
It’s biblical. Under the Holy Spirit’s direction, Paul writes, “Let the pastors that shepherd well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor faithfully at preaching and teaching the word,” (I Tim. 5:17, author paraphrase).
Now, to you who belong to the church body, always be an encouragement to your pastors, but especially during Pastor Appreciation Month. You may not think so, but they need your words and expressions of love and encouragement. Trust me; I’ve been there.
Please, take time this month to honor and celebrate them! There are a multitude of ways you can do that:
- A written note.
- A phone call.
- An email.
- A gift card to their favorite restaurant or store.
- Season ticket holders, you can send them to one of your games.
- Provide a date night for them.
- Or even better, pay for some days away for them to be refreshed.
And don’t forget the pastor’s spouse and their children. It was always more significant for me when my children received gifts during pastor appreciation month. It told them they were noticed, valued, needed and loved!
I could go on with ideas, but you know your pastor and their needs. Be creative, be surprising! Do something individually, but also do something corporately as a church family! Most of all, make a memory for them, one that will cause them to know they are loved and appreciated. A memory they will draw on for years to come.
My wife Jan and I still have many of the cards, notes, and emails we received over the years. From time to time, we find ourselves reading them again. (Now, we don’t have the gift cards; we redeemed them at Cheesecake Factory!)
Again, the Holy Spirit used Paul to communicate the importance of honoring our Spiritual Leaders:
“Dear brothers and sisters, make sure you show deep appreciation for who diligently minister to you as your pastors; esteem and honor them highly in love because of their faithful service …” (I Thessalonians 5:12-13 author paraphrase).
Your expression of love and appreciation and the gratitude you express may be the very thing that keeps your pastors from giving up.
To the pastors reading this
Let me remind you of how significant and vital you are to the church. I have served in pastoral ministry for almost 50 years and understand the many challenges and demands of your calling. I know well the highs and the lows – those times you wonder if what you’re doing is truly making a difference.
We always carry an awareness of our own inadequacies! I’m reminded that Jacob had a limp; Moses had a stutter; Paul had a thorn, and God chose them, called them and powerfully used them!
I think of the words of Dr. Beecher Hicks, who for 37 years pastored the historic Metropolitan Baptist Church in our nation’s capital. He writes in a powerful piece entitled: Captured by the Call.
“In a sense, the pastorate is the worst job you will ever love! Its demands are unreasonable; its calling inescapable, and its machinery often unworkable. Its concepts difficult to grasp, and the political realities of the work make success seem, at times, impossible to achieve.
“We always live with the uneasy knowledge that we haven’t arrived and yet we must lead a people who expect us to have it all together. But the simple truth is we have been captured by the call.”
Add to all that, we have an adversary. I’m sure you’ve encountered him a time or two! He’s relentlessly at work against us, seeking to distract and discourage and even defeat us. He knows well our significance to God’s plan for His Church.
Pastors, you are making a difference!
You are impacting lives, families and destinies. You are needed!
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:3, where he exhorts us: “Stay at your post reading Scripture, giving counsel, teaching. And that special gift of ministry you were given when the leaders of the church laid hands on you and prayed—keep that dusted off and in use.
Cultivate these things. Immerse yourself in them. The people will see you mature right before their eyes! Keep a firm grasp on both your character and your teaching. Don’t be diverted. Just keep at it. Both you and those who hear you will experience salvation.” (MSG).
Listen pastors, the Lord knows the challenges, the struggles and the disappointments you are navigating. He knows the doubts and fears you wrestle with at times, but you are still His choice to lead His Church.
I pray during this month of October you would:
- Have a Psalms 23 encounter with your Lord!
- Experience a fresh infilling of His Spirit,
- and discover a renewed vision from Him.
I’m so grateful we have a Great High Priest who understands our humanity and even now, He is interceding for you. He welcomes you to His throne to receive His mercy and grace to empower you. (See Hebrews 4:15-15; 7:25.)
Zane Anderson served as a senior pastor for over 40 years, and currently leads as an Apostolic Overseer for several churches across the nation. He travels internationally to minister and is a sought-after speaker at local churches, Bible colleges and conferences around the world. He has a zeal for the local church body and desires to train and develop strong leaders. His gifting as a prophetic voice has helped people around the world move into the ministry that the Lord has purposed for them.