Does your pastor need appreciation? Is the admiration of his loyal fans or the satisfaction of a well-delivered sermon all he needs? Doesn’t God shower him with the sense of security and appreciation he needs to continue in his calling?

Actually, most pastors could really use some appreciation. And that’s where you come in. Regardless of where you fall on the introvert/extrovert scale, regardless of your role in the church, and regardless of how much you think your pastor likes you or doesn’t like you — you can show your pastor appreciation.

We often take them for granted. After all, of course every church has a pastor! We often criticize them. (”Not a big fan of his sermon today.”) We often forget about them  and the work they do. A few minutes is all it takes for the pastor’s Sunday sermon to fade into the haze of a long-forgotten Sunday snoozer. As a result, we often fail to show pastors our appreciation.

This should change. Since October is Pastor Appreciation Month, there’s no better time to change than right now. Here are eight ways to show your pastor appreciation.


1. Just say something nice.
The best way to show appreciation is the most obvious — tell him you appreciate him. A simple statement can make a pastor’s week:  “Pastor, I just wanted to tell you that I appreciate you.” That’s it. Say it as you shake his hand after the sermon on Sunday. Say it on his Facebook wall. Send him a text. Just say something nice, and really mean it.


2. Listen up and show that you’re paying attention.
Here’s the uncanny thing about pastors: They can tell who’s listening to their preaching and who’s not. From his perch on the platform, he’s watching everyone in the room. If you’re paying attention to his preaching, he will notice. Your attentive listening is an unspoken token of appreciation, a sign that you value his ministry and are seeking to grow.


3. Be kind to his family.
Pastors are concerned about their family. Along with the burden of church leadership, unruly deacons, a leaking auditorium roof, and Bert’s long-term illness, they have an overriding desire to care for and love their family as they should. When church members come along to love, care for, and appreciate the pastor’s family, such kindness toward his family is a profound gift. Acts of kindness to a pastor’s family — giving a small gift, taking them out to eat, playing with the kids — these go a long way in sustaining the pastor with the gift of appreciation.


4. Pray for him, and pray with him.
Nothing changes things like prayer. Your greatest gift to your pastor is the time you spend in prayer for him. Tell him that you pray for him. Send him an email to let him know that you’ve been praying for specific requests on his behalf. Ask him what other prayer requests he has. You may even want to ask your pastor if you can spend some time praying with him for his ministry and responsibilities. Your pastor will value this sign of respect and appreciation.


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5. Give him time off.
As much as your pastor loves his church, he needs some time off. We’re talking real time off, not just an afternoon on the golf course. Consider planning with the church leaders how you can give your pastor and his family a sabbatical — one or two months where they are completely relieved of all pastoral responsibilities. Your pastor may never ask for such a furlough, and he may put up some show of protest when you offer. But do it. When your pastor takes extended time off, it could be the needed break that enhances his ministry for years to come.


6. Give him something.
Nice words and an attentive attitude are excellent ways to show appreciate your pastor, but take it a step further. There are all kinds of things you can do to provide tangible means of appreciation. Dive into this list, and see if there’s one thing you can do this week:  Mow his lawn or rake the leaves, trim the hedges, edge the grass, spread mulch, clean out his gutters, pressure wash his siding, wash his car, send him and his wife out to eat at the most expensive restaurant in town, leave his favorite snack or candy in his office, send him to a conference, send flowers to his house, buy him a book, babysit his children, or give him an iTunes or Amazon gift card. Tangible expressions of appreciation provide far more value than just the songs he buys on iTunes or the few days that his lawn is leaf-free. Such actions and expenditures are signs that you appreciate him, and that can go a long, long way.


7. Volunteer. Every church needs people to serve and volunteer. Every pastor bears the burden of these unfilled roles. Every pastor longs for his church members to be involved in some capacity — not just warming pews on Sunday morning, but giving of their time and gifts at other times, too. One of your greatest acts of appreciation could be your volunteering for some task. God has given you a personal gift that should be applied to the church in some way.


8. Grow in grace. Nearly two-thousand years ago, the apostle John penned the heart-cry of nearly every pastor across the ages:  “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 1:4). If you really want to show appreciation — to give your pastor his greatest joy — walk in truth. Don’t do this just for your pastor. Do this because you’re a Christian, and because Christians grow (1 Thessalonians 4:3).


A church is a community, and that community needs you — the barely-awake shift worker, the kids who can’t stay quiet in the service, the note-taking senior who brings his own cushion to pad the pew, the texting teen in the back row, the dad who always nods off to sleep as soon as the preaching begins, the overworked volunteer who is on nursery duty every week, the discouraged Christian, the zealous believer…everyone.


Church is people. These people work, love, worship, and mingle in a collaborative, interdependent mashup of joys, frustrations, hard times, good times, and all times — for eternity. We are the church — not just spectators or silent critics, but participants in God’s glorious program of spreading his kingdom across the globe.


And your pastor — he’s an important part of that.


He could use your appreciation. No, of course he’s not perfect. Yet you should appreciate your pastor in spite of his fallibility, and maybe even because of it. Whatever the case, whatever his personality, whatever your disposition, whatever your relationship with him or with God, show your pastor appreciation.

A simple act of pastoral appreciation is going to change someone for the better — maybe you, maybe your pastor, and probably both of you.



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