Pastor Appreciation And
October is Pastor Appreciation Month
BUT You Don't Have to Wait For October!
Show your Appreciation NOW!
We urge church leaders and members to encourage your pastors with your support and understanding. Help
to equip your pastors with educational resources, financial support, educational opportunities and time to study. Enhance
your pastors' ministry through your encouraging and supportive words and offering your own gifts of time and assistance.
Empower your pastor through prayer and support. Bless your pastor's marriage by loving, supporting and encouraging his/her
spouse. Build a loving environment for the pastors' kids to grow up in. You can have a "better" pastor
by encouraging, equipping, and empowering the one you have. Your church will be stronger and healthier and you will have a
more powerful ministry and mission.
Have you ever wanted to write your pastor a letter of gratitude -- just to say "we
appreciate you", but you were not sure quite what to say? Maybe you have been put in the wonderful postion of planning
a pastor appreciation dinner for your pastor -- on a tight budget! Do you need some ideas to make it special? Maybe
you are purchasing a gift for the pastor and his/her family/spouse and you are stuck! You don't want to give the
same old silver tea set that you've noticed they've received three times already, but what do you do. You do
want to give something that will be meaningful and appreciated. (I didn't say this was for the faint of heart!)
Some of our readers have asked if we could help with some pastor appreciation resources.
Below, you will find frequent updates with original resources. You have permission to use download and print these out,
and to send them to as many pastors as your heart desires. You do NOT have permission to reprint them in a bound format. If
you post them on another website, please practice integrity and put this byline: Used with permission from Lydia Ministries
International at http://www.lydiaministry.com/pastorappreciation.html . These have been freely given, so please do not try to profit from them. Thank you. S.L.
Pastor's appreciation card or note of thanks with butterfly background in PDF-- click here.
What does it mean to be a pastor? Note of appreciation in PDF--Click Here to Download
A Letter of Gratitude to the Pastor -- Click here to download PDF format.
A Witty Thank you note to the Pastor's Wife, click here for PDF
In doing a "Google" search of the word "appreciate" this is what I found:
Definitions of appreciate on the Web:
* recognize with gratitude; be grateful for
* be fully aware of; realize fully; "Can you appreciate the meaning of this event?"
* prize: hold dear; "He prizes his relationship with her."
* gain in value; "Our house has appreciate 22% in value since last year!"
* increase the value of; "While I was in Israel they appreciated the value of the shekl twice."
* An increase in any investment's value. For example, if shares of stock in a company you own have risen from five
to ten, it has "appreciated."
* Make a judgement about the value of
In the USA, October is pastor appreciation month. I was reminded of this while listening to a Christian radio broadcast
this week. It reminded me of an incident in October of 2004. I went to one of the "board members" at one of the
churchs my husband, Gary, was pastor of. I reminded them of Pastor Appreciation Month. Gary had just had a major anniversary
as a pastor and it had gone unannounced and overlooked. He had been a pastor for 30+ years. I felt that it would be good for
Gary and good for the church. It would build moral with both. October came and went and nothing was said about Gary's anniversary
or about it being pastor appreciation month.
October was also the month of our wedding anniversary, another opportunity for the church to honor their pastor and his
wife. But that too went unrecognized in the church.
Appreciate: To recognize with gratitude; be grateful for
Wow, why is it so hard for churches to recognize their pastors with gratitude? I've wondered this many times. Now, before
I get hate mail, I do recognize that there are many churches out there, such as the one that I am priveledged to fellowship
with, that do show gratitude toward their pastor(s). But, for everyone that does I'm convinced that there are many more who
I've also heard many times, "Well, we would do more but we just don't know what to do!" What are some ways to
show gratitude for your pastor?
1. Write him or her a note of appreciation. Be specific! We all like to be told how we have blessed someone else, don't
we! It might be a simple note on a card that you write saying something like, "Dear Pastor, I always look forward to
coming to worship. It equips me for the week ahead. Just this week I was reflecting on your sermon from last Sunday. I now
realize that the attitude I was showing toward my co-worker really wasn't conveying a Christian message. Thank you for being
faithful to teach the "hard facts" to us." Now, this is just a sample message, but let me point out that it
tells the pastor one of the ways in which you are blessed by his/her faithfulness. It encourages them to keep on keeping on,
even when it might be difficult. It's bound to be that for every message they get such as this they will get many more that
are destructive and hurtful! But, they will remember these good messages more than the bad ones!
2.Offer to provide a service. Offer to run errands for the pastor for an entire day or an afternoon! Most pastors are
both pastor and staff, and many also perform the function of church janitor. Further more, many pastors are required to care
for the church and parsonage lawns and gardens!
Our last parsonage had a lawn of about 2 1/2 acres. In the summer time it required that Gary and I work no less than three
days a week mowing, trimming, cleaning the flower beds, and trimming the trees and bushes! We still could not keep the yard
work up and it was a big thorn in our side (no pun intended) with the parsonage chairperson.
So, yes, even offering to mow the yard (even if the pastor lives in his/her own home)on a regular basis for your pastor
is a great show of gratitude!
3. Give your pastor the gift of time! Most pastors take few vacations, even when their "contract" provides for
it, or the denomination guidelines endorse a certain amount of vacation time. Clergy burn-out is a real threat to every pastor!
The West Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church provided one year of sabbatical for every eight years of
full-time service for their pastors! It was an awesome provision, yet too few pastors took advantage of it because of financial
obligations. In other words, they couldn't afford to take the sabbatical because they needed the salary!
The Lily Endowment Inc. is a resource to help churches provide their pastors with a sabbatical. Following is an excerpt
from their website, www.lilyendowment.org and I suggest that you visit it regularly:
"Recognizing the importance and necessity for busy pastors to have an opportunity to take an extended break for renewal
and refreshment, Lilly Endowment in 2000 introduced a new competitive grants program. The program awards grants to congregations
that offer a program for the renewal of their pastor and, at the same time, give the congregations themselves an opportunity
to better themselves as vital places of worship and mission
In the National Clergy Renewal Program, the Endowment annually provides as many as 120 grants of up to $45,000 each directly
to Christian congregations for the support of a renewal program for their pastor. The master of divinity degree is the basic
minimum educational requirement to apply for a grant. Deadlines for proposals are generally in May, with announcements of
recipients generally made by October."
You can download an application and read guidelines on their website.
4.Help provide for your pastor's retirement. Many large churches have excellent retirment benefits for their pastors.
In many United Methodist Conferences, retirement benefits are based on salary. Pastors of larger, more affluent churches get
a larger salary, they get other perks such as a church owned vehicle to drive, country club memberships, etc. Many of these
pastors are also able to pay more into their retirment accounts, which are then matched up to a certain percentage, so they
are getting even more retirement dollars! That's great! But, the small church pastor is getting a smaller salary. They have
fewer benefits across the board, and they can generally not afford to pay into retirement accounts more than a minimal amount,
therefore it's not being matched by conference dollars.
What can we do to help with our pastor's retirement? One way is through an insurance policy. I know that someone is going
to write to me about this and that's ok. But, benefits from an insurance policy are generally not taxed. (I'm not offering
tax advice here, see an accountant for tax information). Consider making your pastor beneficiary of a life insurance policy,
or his/her spouse or children/grandchildren!
Endow your pastor with a house or piece of property that you might not have a need of. Even if he/she can't live in it
until retirement, it will give him/her a sense of peace to know that there is a place to go when it is time for retirement.
5. Provide a scholarship for your pastor's child/children, or grandchild/children. It might be a scholarship to college,
but it may also be a scholarship to a dance program or gymnastics or to summer camp!
6. Provide a scholarship to your pastor's spouse! There again, it might be to college, but it might also be for gourmet
cooking classes, or a week at a spa! We all know that when our husband or wife is happy, we are more happy! AS the old saying
goes, "when Mama's happy, everybody's happy, but when Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!"
One church my husband served had a congregation of about 30. Someone had endowed the church with a scholarship for over
200,000.00 USD. A certain amount was to be granted from the interest to students of ministry or christian service or christian
music. I was encouraged by an older gentleman who was on the scholarship committee to apply. We were told that none of the
money had ever been used. I got the application and filled it in, and I wrote the essay stating my goals in concluding my
MDiv. and my desire to continue on in ministry. My request was denied. If you have resources to bless with, then bless with
I know of too many pastors who have wrenched their hands along with their guts over how to send their kids to school while
still paying off their own student loans. Tuition to seminary is usually fairly equal to that of acquiring a medical degree
and yet many pastors make less than $45,000.00 a year!
7. Give your pastor the gift of privacy! If it's personal, then it's personal. One pastor was recently forced out of his
church due to a family issue. His daughter, a very emotionally disturbed young woman wrote a letter to some church members
accusing her father of paying more attention to his grandkids than to her...and no, she was not a young child or even a young
teen. She said basically that he was not a good father because he gave too much of his time to the church also. This letter
was read by deacons and board members. It was read aloud in the church, and passed around in the community. Board members
who had a hidden agenda used it to force the pastor out of the pulpit! This was a personal and private matter between a father
and daughter. It split the church and destroyed the ministry of the church in the community. Many people left the church.
Too many times personal matters are brought up at Pastor-Parish Relations meetings, board meetings, deacons meetings. Give
your pastor the gift of privacy.
Of course, this means that you have to be vigilant in
helping to conquer gossip about your pastor. When you see it growing in your church family, root it out aggressively. Let
people know that it's not acceptible in your church to gossip about the pastor or about others. It is a sin just as sinful
as adultery and murder in the Bible!
Romans 1:28 "Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over
to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.
1:29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder,
strife, deceit, and malice. They are gossips,
1:30 Slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant, and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents;
1:31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
1:32 Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to
do these things but also approve of those who practice them."
So, according to this, those who gossip and slander are rated right up there with God-haters and murderers! How many "good
and upstanding church members" would equate themselves with God-haters and murderers while they sit around the Sunday
lunch table talking about their pastor and his/her spouse and children!
8.Pray for your pastor! If we are to believe the Bible, and that it is not the things of this world that we are at war
with, but the things of the spirit, then should we not also believe that the way to fight this war is through spiritual means?
Pray for your pastor's protection in the day to day battle against good and evil. Your pastor is on the "front-line"
and the enemy is constantly seeking ways to steal, kill and destroy the work of your pastor. Pray daily for your pastor, whenever
you think of him/her lift them up in a "breath prayer". Pray for them during those times when they are preaching
and you can see that they are struggling to get the message out. Pray blessings upon him/her! Pray for him/her to have all
the necessary gifts of the spirit, especially in areas where you may think they are lacking! Instead of gossiping about him/her
9. Invite your pastor/spouse out to Sunday lunch or to dinner. One of the churches that Gary served had a group of members
who never failed to invite us to have lunch with them on Sundays. It was a great way to spend time with members that we were
getting to know, and to see them away from church. It was also a nice thing for us because we didn't have anyone else to have
lunch with on Sundays as our children all lived several hours away from us.
We really missed that group of Sunday lunchers when we moved and for the next two years when not but one church member
invited us to lunch or dinner.
When I was pastor of a church in Maryland there was a family in the church who often invited me to have dinner at their
home. I was there alone and there were several holidays that I would have spent alone had it not been for them. It meant a
lot to me. During the week I would get an invitation to have dinner with a family and it always meant a lot to me. Sometimes
I had to decline, but those meant no less to me than the ones I was able to accept because they all said, "We care about
10. Care about your pastor/spouse/family. In this way, you will show your gratitude, your appreciation more than in any
other way. When we truly care about someone, we act in a way that puts their best interest first. We know their needs and
are ready to reach out and to give a helping hand without having to be asked or petitioned.
When we care about someone we do more fully appreciate them; who they are and what they are about.
One of the definintions above says to appreciate someone/thing means for it to "increase the value".
When you appreciate your pastor/spouse/family they WILL increase in value! What a difference it makes to hear someone
say, "Wow, our pastor preached an impressive sermon this Sunday." as opposed to, "Our pastor can't preach his
way out of a paper bag!"
When we build our pastor up, we build our church up. When we build our church up, we build up the kingdom of God. On the
same hand, we tear our pastor down, we tear our church down and when we tear our church down, we tear down the kingdom of
October is pastor Appreciation month, but do we really need a month to remind us of the person who intercedes in so many
ways before the throne of grace on our behalf? If you haven't shown your pastor that you do appreciate him/her, then by all
means, use this month to make up for it.