In 1992 a seed was planted by the Civitan Club that gave birth to Pastor Appreciation Month. The month of October was designated as the time to show appreciation for preachers. We know what some of you are thinking, we don’t call our preachers pastors, but don’t we still need a preacher appreciation month? The Word of God is clear that good ministers should be encouraged and that honor should be given whom it is due.
This is not the kind of thing that preachers cherish talking about. They certainly wouldn’t ask their congregations or their leaders to do these things for them. Katie Orr wrote a nice article talking about those who minister in local churches and here is part of what she said: “He needs time away from work. He has a family he loves to spend time with. He needs to sleep and eat, do dishes and yard work. He wants to keep his priorities straight.”
We make these suggestions out of a strong desire to encourage, build up, and strengthen the men who give their lives in the service of the Lord.
We know many of you deeply appreciate your ministers and want to honor them. How can you honor the man who stands before you each week with a Word from the Lord? Some want to,but they honestly don’t know where to start. Some of these blessings have been given to us, some to other preachers we know and love. So with apologies to Chuck Lawless who recently wrote a similar article with some similar suggestions and who said some of what we were already thinking here’s our list of 25 possibilities:
Publicly commend him: Yes, we know there are those who do not like him and it will bug them when you do, but if he preaches truth he needs to be supported. When he takes a challenging stand in a loving manner, let him know in front of others that he is appreciated.
Remember when he makes a mistake that he is not perfect: Orr wrote, “His home life is not perfect. He has disagreements with his spouse. His kids make bad choices in spite of his instruction and correction. He often feels like he is in over his head. He needs the prayer and support of others. He sins. He struggles. He weeps. He bleeds.”
Give him and his family a weekend away: Let him get away and you as an eldership pay for it. And, don’t count it as vacation time.
Take out an insurance policy on him to be paid to his wife: Often times preachers sacrifice and their greatest earthly concern is what would happen to their wife/kids when they die. Take out a healthy policy on him. If he dies while there, she is taken care of and it costs the church little.
Remember him on his work anniversary: This is bigger than you think it is. We can almost guarantee you he remembers it. On big anniversaries make over him. Give him a bonus or something that helps him in some way. On my 5th anniversary at one church they prepared a binder with gift cards from each family in the church for gas, food, etc, it was very special.
Send him to the Bible Lands: If he has never gone, he wants to. If he has gone, he wants to go back. And the bonus here is that the church will benefit from it. The younger a guy is when he gets to make such a trip, the more the church will benefit from it. His preaching will be richer.
Hand him a gift card. A gas card. A card to his favorite restaurant. A general card to be used during the holidays. Little things are huge!
Call him into a meeting unexpectedly and pray a prayer for thanksgiving for him and let him know he is appreciated.
Regularly ask him how he and his family are doing and if they have any particular needs right now. We had one elder who would always ask how we were doing and just the fact he asked meant the world to us.
Send him a video-recorded thank you message from your family: Take a few minutes, record a short video greeting and “thank you,” and send it. Make it fun if you can.
Commit to him that you will not to speak ill of him to members of the congregation.
Send him a note periodically that you are praying for him and his family regularly, and, pray for him and his family regularly.
Give him a resource allowance: Books, apps, computers cost money and all aid in his ministry.
Stop by his office every once in a while just to say hello. Don’t stay too long, have a prayer with him, encourage him.
Give him an end of the year or holiday bonus: There are always extra expenses at that time of year.
Give a gift to his wife and children: The church that loves their preacher’s family will have a preacher who loves them.
Give a monetary gift in his honor to something that he loves and supports:
Offer a night or two of childcare over a month: If he has children that will really be appreciated.
Give him time and funds to attend a lectureship/conference/program he wants to attend: Encourage him to attend and pay his expenses to a BETTER conference.
On a BIG anniversary do something big: A large bonus would be nice or a cruise for him and his wife. This will assure him of your commitment to him and give him added incentive to stay.
Make a commitment for the future: If he is younger pay off any student loans. Or give him the money for a downpayment on a house. When dad had been at Woodlawn for 5 years they gave him the house we lived in. It became his in increments. 25% immediately, another 25% in five more years, and the final 50% in five more years. That’s incentive to stay when offers are coming in or things are challenging.
Offer to pay for continuing education at a good school: This will bless both him and the congregation.
Know him well enough to know what he enjoys and give him a gift that helps him enjoy it more: For example, 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.
Have his car detailed: Clean it. Wax it. Change the oil. Fill it with gas. Give it back to him with maybe a restaurant gift card or two in the front seat.
Tell him you love him, often. That is, if you love him!