By Marcus Merritt
Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. 1 Tim. 5:17
October is Pastor Appreciation Month. While that may not seem like a big deal to you, I am confident it is to your pastor.
Shepherding God’s flock can be a lonely and weary task at times. Hundreds of pastors leave the ministry each year. I personally minister to discouraged pastors on a regular basis, so I know firsthand the importance of public affirmation.
Both the Old and New Testaments record stories of men who felt the loneliness and weariness of ministry. In 1 Kings 19, Elijah slumped under a broom tree and longed to die. He later told God that he felt all alone in the ministry. Paul lamented in 2 Timothy 4 that no man stood with him. God eventually showed Elijah that he had 7,000 supporters, and Paul came to understand that God was with him, even when he felt deserted by men.
Pastor Appreciation Month is designed to keep your pastor out from under the broom tree! An encouraged pastor is a blessing to his congregation and his family. A church can encourage and bless their pastor simply by treating him and his wife to a date night at a nice restaurant. In fact, you do not have to wait until October; you could give them a date night on a regular basis.
Here is another way to encourage and bless your pastor. Ask each Sunday School/small group to donate gift cards for restaurants, home improvement stores, sporting goods stores, bookstores, etc. On Oct. 8 (or any Sunday in October), have “Pastor Appreciation Day” and publicly present the gift cards, along with hand-written notes, to the pastor and his wife. This small gesture will go much further than you can imagine. It does not matter so much what you do, just that you do something meaningful for your pastor in October.
The Apostle Paul spoke about the weight of the churches he led. By observing Pastor Appreciation Day, you are literally lightening your pastor’s load. Please do not let October pass without publicly appreciating your pastor!
Marcus Merritt serves as a state missionary for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board in Church-Minister Relations.