The month of October is “Pastor Appreciation Month” and it is a good time to show some appreciation to your pastor. Everyone needs a word of encouragement and appreciation from time to time, and pastors are no exception. In fact, most pastors report that they seldom receive such appreciation from their parishioners. Perhaps we all tend to think that since pastors are called by God and doing God’s work, they don’t need to be thanked or appreciated. Not true!

Being a pastor is hard work, it sometimes breaks your heart, and most pastors have times of wondering, “Does anybody really care? Is my ministry making a difference? Do my people know how much I care for them?”

Here are some ways you can show appreciation to your pastor:

  1. Give you pastor a few gift cards (they can be for small amounts, but give enough to make it fun) to spend on food, ice cream, books, or something special.
  2. If your pastor is married and has young children, offer to babysit those kids so you pastor and spouse can have an evening out together.
  3. Write you pastor a kind note, poem, or prayer card – anything personal to say, “I appreciate you.”
  4. Plan a brief time in a worship service for the lay leader or the worship liturgist to state publically, “Pastor, we love you and appreciate you” – and then follow that with a round of applause (everyone likes to be applauded).
  5. Offer to take your pastor (and spouse) out for dinner – and make it a nice place and pay for their meal as an expression of appreciation.
  6. Tell your pastor you are praying for her/him – and then do it!
  7. Surprise your pastor some month other than October with some expressions of appreciation.
  8. Find a special date in your pastor’s life (birthday, wedding anniversary, anniversary of ordination, etc.) and recognize that special date with some notes of appreciation.
  9. Tell your pastor’s spouse how much you appreciate her/his sacrifices for your pastor to be in ministry. Most spouses are willing to share their pastor/spouse, but they sure would like to know that we all notice their sacrifice.
  10. Smile at your pastor and give him/her a big, appropriate hug, especially after a tough meeting, a difficult funeral, or a busy Sunday service. Sometimes it is the simple things – like a smile or an encouraging word or gesture – that mean the most.

I am sure that there are lots of other ways to show appreciation, but the list above includes some of the ways that people have shown appreciation to me over the years. October is good month to show appreciation to your pastor. So are the other 11 months of the year.