Simple ways to show you care on pastor appreciation day
By Lindsay Peyton
Being a pastor can be hard work at times. It’s not the type of job where you can clock in and clock out - or where calls can wait until business hours. Pastors preside over the most important moments of their congregation’s lives, baptisms, marriages and funerals. They help their church progress in mission, evangelism and discipleship. Add a pandemic to the equation, and clergy have even fuller schedules. They have spent most of 2020 caring for their flocks in the midst of uncertainty – facing new challenges head-on. That makes this Pastor Appreciation Day, Sunday, Oct. 11, even more noteworthy.
Pastor Appreciation Day, usually the second Sunday of October, is an ideal time to show you care – to the leader who cares for you and your family all year long. Here are some ideas to show your gratitude.
Write a card or letter. It’s hard to beat a handwritten note. Need help getting started? Consider what you appreciate the most about your pastor or why your pastor is a blessing to you and your church. Be specific. Tell your pastor about a special moment, like a sermon you particularly enjoyed or a holiday that was especially meaningful to you. Recognize your pastor’s extra effort during COVID-19 or talk about how they are an example to you and others.
Treat your pastor to dinner. Gift certificates to restaurants are a great way to say thank you to a pastor. Now that restaurants are reopening in Texas, your pastor might enjoy an evening meal on the patio – or pick-up dinner to go.
Donate a date night. Throw in an evening of babysitting with dinner. This would be a fun way to give pastors a night off to simply relax and enjoy some time alone with their spouse.
Buy a book – on Amazon or Audible. Pastors often enjoy picking up a devotional or the latest copy of a new theology book. Some clergy enjoy listening while they go for a walk or run. Or purchase a subscription to your pastor’s favorite magazine or newspaper.
Serve the church. Often the best gift to give a pastor is stepping up to serve the church. There are always countless opportunities to help, from teaching at Sunday school to volunteering at a fundraiser. Maybe you have a unique skill that could benefit church. Serving your church is a great way to lighten your pastor’s load.
Feed your pastor. Perhaps you bake, preserve vegetables from your garden or raise livestock on your family ranch. Maybe you have the best recipe for soup, a yummy casserole, something that would be perfect for the freezer. Gifts of homemade food make amazing gifts, especially for busy pastors and their families. Ask your pastor if they have any dietary restrictions or food allergies. Then hit the kitchen and cook up what is sure to become their favorite treat.
Pick up a pen and paper. Don’t forget that pastors are also writers. They spend countless hours drafting sermons and composing their thoughts. Consider getting a nice pen and a new journal for your pastor.
Pray for your pastor. One of the best ways to show your appreciation is simply to let your pastors know they are on your thoughts – and your prayer list.
Set aside time during the service. Create a slideshow of photos and videos of your pastor. Volunteers can collect and help compile the pictures. Children from a Sunday school class could present your pastor with a banner they made during arts and crafts. You might even surprise your pastor with a custom t-shirt that reads “Best Pastor in Texas.” Simply saying “thank you” on Sunday can mean a lot.
Make it a month. Why not celebrate your pastor the entire month of October? Your congregation could join together to do something special each Sunday. Also, don’t worry if you forget the specific date. Pastors will enjoy your appreciation any time of year.
Remember, it can be difficult for pastors to ask for help – especially since they are typically the ones to give and not receive. Show your appreciation by listening to their specific needs. Your pastor might mention something you can do that would lighten his or her load.
Regardless of the way you show you care, set aside some time this Pastor Appreciation Day - or month - to celebrate your pastors and let them know what a blessing they are to you and your church.