Nearly 30 years, the folks at Focus on the Family initiated the idea of Pastor Appreciation Month during the month of October. Over the years I’ve seen many beautiful examples of how congregations have expressed their appreciation to their pastor. Some have offered an assortment of gift cards to the pastor’s favorite eating establishments or entertainment venues. Others have given generous cash gifts or bonuses. I know of others who have provided time away – whether it was a personal retreat, a romantic getaway for the pastor and his or her spouse, or some special family time away at a special place. I even know of one or two churches that have given special gifts (motorcycles) to show their appreciation.
Over the years I’ve also had far too many sad conversations with pastors who were painfully aware that “pastor appreciation month” had come and gone without a mere mention, a card, a letter or any kind of gift or acknowledgement. Those have always been such painful conversations that left the pastor wondering “did they just forget or am I doing something wrong?”
As a result, I offer up this encouragement to show some love and appreciation to those who serve your local fellowship of believers. It’s not a secret that 2020 has been year like no other! Over the course of the last six months, my life has been filled with conversations with pastors who are weary and frustrated by all that the pandemic has rearranged. I know that’s not unique to pastors – everyone’s feeling a good dose of that these days. But, there are many pastors who have had to learn a lot on the fly and continue to find ways to serve, shepherd and lead the people that God has entrusted to their care and a little encouragement and appreciation would go a long way. It might be a note or a card or a gift of some kind. What could you do to express “we notice, we’re grateful and we just wanted to let you know that you are appreciated”?
This post made me reflect upon the idea of gratitude and appreciation. Are they the same? How are they different? I think I’ve come to understand that gratitude is the feeling of being grateful while appreciation is the action I take to show my gratitude to someone.
How can you show your gratitude to your pastor during the month of October? It may mean a thoughtful letter or note. Perhaps a gift card to their favorite eatery or some other gesture of appreciation. Most of us are grateful for our pastors, how could you demonstrate that gratitude through a thoughtful act of appreciation?
Here’s another thought for the day. Why stop at pastors? Again, we know that 2020 has been immensely difficult on many, many people. Who else do you know who’s weary, tried and frustrated and yet continues to show up and serve well? Think about the folks in the hospitality industry who run your favorite restaurant or coffee shop. What about the educators and teachers who are having to find new ways to help educate the kids of our communities? Who else could use some encouragement through your act of appreciation? Who do you need to take the time to communicate “I notice, I’m grateful and I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate you and what you do?”
What if we would live in such a way that we become known as the folks who show appreciation? How would that impact our communities, neighborhoods, workplaces and schools?
Show some appreciation this month. Find a way to demonstrate in a thoughtful way that you appreciate them and what they do. Let your pastor know that you appreciate them. Put your gratitude into action.