It’s good to communicate appreciation to your Pastor throughout the year. And since 1992, many churches have been celebrating October as Clergy Appreciation Month with the second Sunday of October becoming Pastor Appreciation Day more recently. It’s good to have it on your church calendar!
Pastors need encouragement especially after COVID-19 scrambled the church world. Many are fighting mental health issues as the pressure of switching to online services, increased leadership issues, and implementing necessary changes in this post-COVID world. That leadership needs to be appreciated.
Dr. Gary Chapman, a good friend, and North Carolina native, wrote the classic book, The 5 Love Languages to explain that everyone receives love differently. To effectively “speak” or communicate appreciation to your Pastor, it’s like speaking love. And Christ-followers are to be known for love! Paul in 1 Timothy 5:17 concentrates our love onto good church elders (especially those preaching and teaching). Saying that they are worthy of double honor! Let’s do that.
Using the structure of The 5 Love Languages (and Dr. Chapman’s follow-up book, 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace), here are 5 practical ways to communicate appreciation to your Pastor. Don’t know which language they want? Often people prefer what they practice well.
- Physical touch. An appropriate, firm handshake goes a long way. And in that moment of engagement, thank them for their hard work. Or consider a fist bump, high five, or, with permission, a hug.
- Quality time. Focus attention on them so they understand this is about them and not you. Consider getting your family to do a house project for (or with) them. Spend time before or after the project with their family if possible. Or take time to dream and listen to their God-sized ministry goals.
- Acts of service. Ask your Pastor what they need help with. Offer your skills and ask them how they could be best used in the church. Or maybe your small group can discover how much a guest speaker costs the church and then offer to cover those fees so the Pastor can take a break.
- Words of affirmation. Honor them publicly. This may be in a church service but can also be in a smaller group of peers. Call attention to who they are by remarking about something they’ve accomplished. Or tell them you’ve decided to give more generously to help meet the needs of the church. Be a regular encourager to your Pastor without expecting something in return.
- Gift giving. Consider what your Pastor needs and supply it. Maybe a Lifeway.com gift card if they love books, or treating their family to an amusement park or sports game. Or maybe offer a paid-for date night while you watch their kids.