How did your church honor your pastor this past month? In each church I visited in October, I observed church members expressing gratitude for their pastor and staff. After all, October is Pastor Appreciation month.
I love to add my two cents to those celebrations and remind the church that pastoring is hard work. It is not hard work in the same way as digging ditches or cutting tobacco, but there is a spiritual warfare element involved in pastoring a church that is not found in those other jobs. Strive to encourage your pastor and staff.
What if we found a way to honor our pastors year round? What could that do for the health of the church and the well-being of those who serve her? Here are seven suggestions for doing just that:
1. Pay attention to his sermons: There is no greater music to your pastor’s ears than to hear a parishioner say, “your sermon today really ministered to me in the following way.” Or, “I really appreciate that you faithfully explain and apply the scripture week after week.”
2. Encourage his efforts to lead the flock: Leadership is a challenging task. Sometimes leading a church can feel like herding cats. Be sure to let your pastor know you appreciate where he is leading and how he is leading.
3. Overlook his minor shortcomings: I am not talking about egregious errors or character flaws, but his mistakes. Do not focus on the one or two things he messed up and miss the many things he got right.
4. Honor his wife: Sometimes church members will use the pastor’s wife to try and get information to, or from, or worse expect her to be unpaid staff. Work instead to recognize that her primary work is to care for your pastor and his family.
5. Love his children: My children had the great privilege of growing up in churches that loved their father and mother — and who also loved them. Treat the pastor’s children in such a way that they will look back fondly on the church where their father served because of the love that was shown to them.
6. Pay him the best you can: Your pastor does not need to be made rich in the ministry, but he does need to make a living wage. He has the same expenses as others in the church. Each church I served did their best to assure my family’s needs were met. That always meant a lot to me.
7. Respect his free time: If your pastor is off on Saturday, try to honor that as his day off.
Faithful pastors are a blessing to the congregation they serve. They do their work, mostly unseen, day in and day out, as an act of love for Jesus and His people. When we strive to appreciate them, they can do their work with greater joy. Make a point to show appreciation to your pastor and his family year round. It will be good for you and good for him.