I’m a church girl. The hours I spent at church growing up were hugely formative for me.
My childhood is laced with memories of church.
There’s the vacation Bible school one summer, when we started each morning in big church singing “Onward Christian Soldier” out of heavy blue hymnals.
And the Wednesday nights when I pulled my calico maxi-skirt over my black leotard and pink tights because we went straight to Wednesday night supper in the Annex.
And Sunday nights when a college ensemble came to sing. The matching outfits. The hair. The night off preaching. I’d swing my legs on the pew, swooning over which two girls might come home with us to eat my mom’s lemon meringue pie and stay in our guest room.
My life has been shaped by pastors devoted to the Word and to the church. Whole decades are marked by who was in the pulpit at the time.
From the music minister who counseled me in a pivotal crisis of faith, to children’s ministers who loved on my kids, to pastors who helped build up my faith bank, I would not be who I am today without the pastors and church staff who’ve poured into me and my family over the years.
October is widely celebrated across denominations as Pastor Appreciation Month. Our family’s been mulling over to honor our pastor and staff.
3 Things Every Pastor Needs
1)The benefit of the doubt. (Yes and amen.) In a world that tends toward the cynical, we need to think the best of our pastor. We need to support his leadership, his decisions, and the direction he feels the Lord leading the congregation. There’s no place for suspicion or tattling or innuendo, especially if we’re whispering it to someone else. A healthy church trusts that God is leading the pastor as he leads the congregation.
2) Prayer. It’s easy to get so caught up in my own day-to-day that I overlook praying for my pastor and staff. Pastors bear enormous stress. Like us, pastors wrangle unforeseen bills, family stresses, marriage issues, aging parents, broken water heaters. They battle frustrations and fear, trials and temptations. Prayer is a huge gift for your pastor as he makes decisions and strives personally to be more like Christ.
3) Support for his wife and family. There’s only one person churches often have more expectations of than the pastor: his wife. The number one job of every pastor’s wife is to love her husband and her family well. It’s not to be at every event and it’s not to head up that special ministry.
She may be an introvert, preferring one-on-one conversations over platform speaking. She might choose to work outside the home or play in a tennis league or wear jeans instead of a skirt. And her children? Let’s please, please not raise our eyebrows like we’ve never been there when they misbehave.
Grace and the golden rule are key to supporting our pastor’s wife and family. And along with grace, let’s offer compassion, because she may be struggling in ways she’ll never feel free to share.
With October set aside as Pastor Appreciation Month, it’s a great time to look for tangible ways to thank your pastor and staff.
Ideas for Pastor Appreciation Month
- Send a ministry appreciation ecard is a simple and easy way to let your pastor know you value his ministry.
- Write a note to express your appreciation. One pastor relayed he keeps these notes and letters to pull out on discouraging days when he needs affirmation his ministry makes a difference.
- Bless your pastor’s family with a restaurant gift card, movie passes or one-time cleaning service. Pastors’ families sacrifice time, weekends and often their own wants for the needs of congregants and the church.
- Expand your pastor’s library. Most pastors I know continually add new books and commentaries to their personal libraries. A gift card will help your pastor build his library.
- Consider sending ecards or notes to former pastors and staff who’ve ministered to your family over the years.
I hope this is a month of huge encouragement for pastors across the church. May they be able to count on us for grace and gratitude.
P.S. This page has many more ideas on how to thank a pastor, youth minister and other staff this month.
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