In case you have forgotten, for some odd reason, October is Pastor Appreciation Month. Now I did not make this up, and I do not know who signed the petition for this event. But I actually do have some pastor’s appreciation memories.
Growing up, we would have pastor’s appreciation month at our local church. The pastor and his wife would be seated at the front, sometimes on the podium. During that time they would be showered with kind gestures to include material gifts and testimonials of gratitude.
Of course if one person had something good to say, others would follow, even if they did not mean it. By God’s good grace, I do find such occasions to be somewhat distracting; often taking away the glory that belongs to God alone. In fact, when we gather, all appreciation should be given to God for what He has done in saving sinners and calling us into His kingdom and glory. But Pastor’s Appreciation Month, should you appreciate those who shepherd you faithfully?
There is a plethora of pastor’s appreciation ideas on the Internet: from placing ads, to buying him commentaries. Or like some, thirty days of appreciation (that should make a true servant of God nauseous!).
I can say according to Scripture, believers can show appreciation to their under-shepherd––their leaders. To add to this, there are times when a pastor can be greatly encouraged when there is a sense of God-honoring appreciation given. Some humility is required on the pastor’s part, but if you believe you are God’s gift of humility to the pastor by always criticizing him without encouraging him, you will have a hard time justifying that biblically.
Appreciation to those who serve us faithfully by teaching God’s word and shepherding us is good (1 Thess. 5:12-13).
So how can a person appreciate their pastor? Paul in Philippians made it clear that the church was a great encouragement to him in at least four ways:
- They were consistently sharing in the ministry with him (1:5, 7,)
- They were consistently seeking to know his welfare (Phil. 4:10)
- They were consistently sending gifts to him (Phil. 4:15-16)
- They were consistently standing firm in the faith (Phil. 1:27; 4:1)
Beloved, constant prayer and sharing the joys and burdens of ministry are acts of encouragement. Letting your pastor know you are praying for him and showing up to help serve the needs of the church is a constant source of encouragement and a testimony to your appreciation. The desire just to see how he is doing and not always seeing what you can get goes a long way. The gifts are only an extension of that love, providing practically for needs.
But most of all, what gives a pastor joy is when he knows his beloved are walking in the truth (2 John 1:4). I am overjoyed when I hear testimonies of what God’s word through the Holy Spirit is accomplishing in the lives of His people. With that is the joy of knowing that God is drawing sinners near through the faithful preaching of truth.
So if you desire to appreciate your pastor this month and every month, always, always pray for him. Ask him what needs he has. Seek him out by finding ways to alleviate some of the daily responsibilities he has so he can devote himself to the word and prayer. Bless him as God allows you to do so, and do it with the most affection and care you can. The gift is never as important as the love it expresses. And the joy of ministry is to see the fruit in your life. Seek that grace of God to make you fruitful by granting you the grace to continually obey the teaching of God’s word.
As a pastor, I appreciate those who stand with me in prayer. Those men who seek me out by sending text messages and emails of how they are blessed that God sent me to speak His truth to them. The local fellowship where I pastor are seeking to care for my family and I with material blessings. And what joy I have in knowing that so many of them are walking in the truth.
What is more precious is when this love is exemplified on a daily basis, not just one month a year. And ultimately what gratitude and praise I must give to God for making all of this possible.
Happy pastor appreciation to you pastors, primarily the faithful expositors of God’s word. With thanksgiving to God I am grateful for all the men who are faithful in ministry. In the end, what we seek above all is to hear our Master say, well done thou good and faithful servant.
And on that note I say: