October is Pastor Appreciation Month! As we reflect on our years in ministry, we remember how often people encouraged us. Hebrews 13:17 talks about being a joy to your leaders. For many pastors, joy has been illusive as they cope with extra stress from the pandemic and polarization in our churches. A recent survey indicated that almost one third of pastors have given “real, serious consideration to quitting being in full-time ministry within the last year” (Barna Group).
So how can we bring joy to our pastors this year? Here are some of the things people did that really brought us joy over the years.
- Pray for your pastor. There was a very special WW 2 veteran (Purple heart from Iwo Jima) that prayed for us every day. It felt so comforting to know that someone faithfully prayed for us. I would often ask him to pray for something and he would write it down. He spent two hours every day praying. What a legacy.
- Give a gift certificate for dinner or coffee. It is always fun to go on a date with your spouse or have a reason to shop for something. (If they have small kids, maybe even offer to babysit!)
- Do a chore or run an errand. When we had a wood stove, a family dropped off a cord of wood. They saw a need and cheerfully gave to us. I can’t tell you how often people in the church have helped us out along the way. We are grateful still.
- Send a card or email. Everyone needs to be encouraged. People wrote or emailed specifically what they appreciated. It meant the world to us. It is amazing how a kind word can keep a pastor going.
- An extra weekend off. Most of us enjoy long weekends throughout the year, but our pastors don’t get those except for vacation. Consider giving them a long weekend beyond the normal time off. The “extra weekends off” New Hope gave us were so appreciated.
BEFORE YOU GO
We all can bring joy to our pastors! Don’t assume the church will take care of that! Do something personally. I’d love to hear what you did to help give joy to your pastors!