I was a pastor for 21 years. I’ve never had to go through a pandemic and lead a church. The pandemic has been hard on 99% of us, no matter what you do or what kind of leader you are. But this pandemic along with the already overwhelming burden of being a pastor in a church can be too much for anyone to bear. That is why it is so important that your pastors, both lead and pastoral staff know that you appreciate them. They need to know you have their prayers and that you have their back.
Believe it or not, many pastors have thought about leaving vocational ministry. The issues related to the coronavirus have intensified this. I interact regularly with pastors, they tell me what is on their heart. Many have said that if they could find a job that would support their family they’d leave. I could enumerate many reasons for this from decrease in attendance, finances and member conflicts over how reopening or not reopening was handled. But what is needed here is one way you can show love and give a much needed shot in the arm to a local pastor: Do something to thank them. In other words, appreciate them.
An act of gratitude to your pastors goes a long, long way. Especially with the wife and family. My wife remembers these things more than I. In thinking about it, she wrote this:
In the late ‘80s my husband served as the pastor of a church plant in a suburb of New Orleans. Money was tight for us and the church. Someone took the initiative and organized families to bring us a meal for seven consecutive nights. As a church planting couple, I worked full-time while my husband completed seminary classes and while we were raising babies and balancing the household together. Those meals were a huge blessing to our family.
Over the years, my husband has been blessed in many ways. One favorite is a personal note with a word of appreciation citing a specific time he ministered to them or a sermon that God used to speak directly to them. He’s enjoyed a basket or bag with a few things he mentioned in sermons that he enjoys like Dr. Pepper and Reece’s or humorous gifts. One year, a family gave him a book of pastoral cartoons with cash inserted in the pages.
The gestures meant so much to both of us. It could be a turning point for your minister if you did such a thing. As you can see, it doesn’t have to take any money out of the church budget, just someone to organize it and get the word out for people to do it. Most assume others will show appreciation, so why is mine needed? If that happens, then nothing will be done.
My wife, Karen reminds us that doing things for the pastor or ministers family is important as well. Doing something or buying a gift for the kids makes the whole family feel loved. Karen has made a list of 22 ideas useful for Pastor/Minister appreciation. You can get it as a free download here. I’ll end with this. It is not so much what you do but that you do something. If you are ever going to show appreciation to your minister, believe me, now is the time. Don’t let October 2020 go by without it.