I love the fall and I don’t think I’m alone.
Many of my neighbors have decorated their homes with fall themes. I can drive down the street and see messages of blessing, thanksgiving, and family.
Southerners seem to love it – probably because we long for the cooler temperatures. But fall also brings an easy transition for us to usher in the season of thanksgiving and blessings that we associate with Thanksgiving and Christmas.
As I begin this season, I can’t help but smile about how thankful I am for our church family. As a pastor’s wife, I’m always grateful for their love and support that allows us to minister as a family. Many churches corporately acknowledge October as Pastor Appreciation Month. It’s a joy to see how they show appreciation to my husband and our family.
Each congregation is different. Even from year to year at the same church, the way they honor the pastors can vary. But I wanted to share just a few ways appreciation can be shown – some can even last all year long and not even cost money!
Send a card or letter. Writing a heartfelt statement in a card can bring a smile to a pastor’s face long after the card is sent. We often keep cards tucked away and sometimes run across them at just the right time when we needed another encouragement.
Serving. getting involved in the life of the church is such an encouragement to your pastor. Knowing he has you to count on to continue the mission of the church often brings more encouragement to him than any gift we could offer.
Prayer. When those we’ve served alongside have come to us and said, “We’re praying for you,” we are encouraged. This is especially true if they knew we were going through some hard times. Last year, one of our kids had some scary medical tests run and anytime someone told us they were praying for us, we were flooded with love and peace through the trial.
Help his wife and kids. As a pastor’s wife, church days are often difficult. Daddy isn’t around to help wrangle the crew and, of course, the kids all want their time with him. One super easy way to help show appreciation to your pastor and his family is to aid the wife and kids.
We have four children, and I remember the days when we would often arrive at church needing a bit of help. When the two youngest were small, they would often refuse to walk or were not old enough to walk. We had a particular deacon who loved our family well and would often meet us at the car to help get our crew safely into the church building. He would often keep a watchful eye and help us back out many days, carefully ensuring the children, Bibles, and artwork made it safely into the van. Those times I had an extra set of hands were such a blessing.
Truly get to know him and his family beyond work. Find out what he and his family enjoy. Be a friend to his wife or a child and just get to know them. As a mom of four, I know not everyone can know each of my kids on a personal level, but those who take interest us speak volumes of love to us.
Babysitting. While I’ve already mentioned children, maybe you could offer your services to watch the kids for a date night. Hiring a babysitter and going out to eat can get expensive. Maybe your pastor has a gift card he and his wife are excited to use but don’t know of someone willing to babysit or they don’t have the means to pay a sitter. Offering to be a sitter for them could potentially be an answer to prayer.
Babysitting is a great way to involve a teenager or young adult in your home, but it can also extend to your small group in the case of families with many children. Your pastor would love to have an evening where his children are safe so he and his wife can go on a date.
Gift cards can often be a great present for Pastor Appreciation Month. If your pastor doesn’t have a church budget for books or music, an Amazon or iTunes card might be a perfect gift him. Plus, you don’t have to worry about giving him a gift he already owns. Who wouldn’t love a gift card to a restaurant?
Find out if there is anything your pastor is saving toward. Perhaps he has a home improvement project he’s working on or saving toward. You can lend a hand, give money, or perhaps give a gift card. You may find out he has a big anniversary coming up. Use those hotel or airline points on your pastor as a gift.
Be creative. There are so many ways you can show you are thankful for your pastor and his family. In the past, a church where we were serving paid for a new family photo for us. This was extremely exciting because we couldn’t afford them and hadn’t had one since our youngest was an infant – nearly three years prior!
Get to know him and give him tickets to his favorite team’s game. Make a meal or take him to lunch just to say thanks. Take them with you on a fishing trip. Depending on his style and personality, maybe he would enjoy a Christian t-shirt with a quote from his favorite theologian or music lyrics. Go big and send him to a retreat or sabbatical. Be creative with who God has made you and show your appreciation.
This month may you find a way to show the pastors in your life appreciation for all they do week in and week out. The best part is they don’t all have to cost you money, and you can be creative. The best thing to do is to show them you love and appreciate all he and his family do, but always remember to do it in your own way!