October is Pastor Appreciation Month. Will your pastor understand that he is appreciated?
October 2020 could be the most critical month for the health of your pastor and church family. Your pastor has likely been hammered with more uncertainty, critical remarks, discouraging conversations, and no-win situations than he ever imagined possible this year. In just these past few months he has likely been forced to serve as a disaster relief coordinator, health department correspondent, social media broadcast technician, conflict management specialist, environmental safety specialist, and mediator; all the while preaching and teaching to just a few people, responding to record numbers of pastoral ministry needs and daily facing the reality that most people will not be happy with his decisions.
In most contexts this is not a good time to have a Pastor Appreciation reception, dinner, or fellowship. So, what might you do? Here are just a few ideas:
1. Collect a special love offering for your pastor and his family.
2. Flood social media with photos and words of appreciation for your pastor.
Be specific. Rather than saying, “We love our pastor because he is the best,” say something like, “When I was discouraged, Pastor John prayed with me, gave me scripture and helped me see things from another perspective.” Another example is, “Our kids love Pastor John! They love it when he tells a funny story and most of the time they remember the biblical truth he was communicating through that story. Pastor John, thanks for making God’s Word relevant to our whole family!”
3. Consider planning a “virtual pastor appreciation fellowship.”
You can do this through Zoom or another virtual online meeting service. Ask specific people like deacons, elders, small group leaders, Sunday school teachers, children and teenagers to be prepared to share in one to three minutes what they appreciate about their pastor. Then open it up for others to share. Try to keep it short. Plan and publicize a specific beginning time and a specific ending time, then stay on schedule. This will usually require a moderator.
4. Order a home-delivered meal from your pastor’s favorite restaurant.
It doesn’t even have to be a whole meal. A special pie or signature dessert from that special place can be meaningful. Be sure to order enough for the whole family. For safety, consider using a professional delivery service that follows a well-prescribed food protocol such as DoorDash or Grubhub.
These are just a few ideas that will hopefully spur your thinking to do something for your pastor that is both personalized, meaningful, and appropriate for your context. If there is ever a year to bless your pastor in a big way, this is it! Love and appreciate the gift that God gave you and your church family. According to Ephesians 4:11, your pastor is indeed God’s gift to your church.
- Written by Eric Ramsey, WVCSB Executive Director-Treasurer