October is recognized worldwide as Pastor Appreciation Month. Some will remember Focus on the Family in the 1990s encouraging churches to show appreciation to their pastors and staff — but to do so especially during the month of October. Since that time churches have found unique ways to honor their pastor and staff.
Why should we set aside time to show appreciation to those who lead us as pastors in a local church? Here are five reasons.
1. Because of Scripture: God admonishes His people, through the Apostle Paul, to care well for those in leadership over the local church. 1 Timothy 5:17 says, “Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.” To honor someone means to hold them in respect or great esteem. It is good to honor our leaders because of the position assigned to them and the people they are expected to be.
2. Because of their service: Faithful pastors offer a much-needed service that few are lining up to provide. They labor over the Scriptures to prepare biblical sermons to feed the flock. They work with committees and ministry teams in prayer and in collaboration to lead the flock. They minister to members of the congregation in times of death, sickness and difficulty to care for the flock. Their service is much needed and deserves honor.
3. Because of the season: Churches today have been in a long-drawn-out season of difficulty. COVID has served to elevate the level of stress and fatigue experienced by those in vocational Christian ministry. Many pastors have been stretched thin and are experiencing discouragement as well as physical, mental and emotional depletion. For the past 18 months, these spiritual leaders have ministered under a set of circumstances that is unique to this time in history. They need to hear their church say, “We are aware of your labor, we love you, we appreciate you and we are proud of you.”
4. Because of the strain: Many of us have jobs that begin at a set time of day and end at another set time. Those who are in salaried or leadership positions may have longer work hour expectations. Your pastor, however, is never off the clock. That doesn’t mean that he should work unreasonable hours or neglect a personal sabbath. But it does mean that he constantly carries the shepherding burden and responsibility for your local congregation. When you and your family are having trouble, he is involved whether he shows up personally or directs another staff member or deacon to provide care. His oversight responsibility doesn’t end at 5 p.m. on Friday or noon on Sunday.
5. Because of our Savior: Jesus cares for His people. Throughout the Gospels we see our Lord providing a high level of personal ministry for the well-being of His disciples. Since Jesus cares for those who have answered the call to ministry leadership, so should we.
Pastors do not do what they do for the pay. They do it because of their calling. They will continue to do it whether we show appreciation or not. How much better for them to know that they and the work they do is appreciated by those they serve. Would you find a way to show appreciation to your pastor, or pastors, this month?