October is not over and there’s still time to show your pastor some appreciation. Each year October is designated as “Pastor Appreciation Month,” and many local congregations make efforts to show their pastors respect and love.
In doing so, says Gary Dull, various acts of kindness will be shared, such as special services, gifts, time off or restful trips.
Dull, who is a state director of the American Pastors Network, says that certainly every pastor who is a recipient of these gestures will be appreciative.
“But showing appreciation to your pastor should be more than just honoring him in a special way once a year,” Dull says. “Appreciating your pastor should be a continual attitude with regular actions to express that appreciation. A study of the Bible gives not only suggestions, but also directives on how a church fellowship should show appreciation for its pastor. Let’s take time to consider how we can put these directives to practice. In doing so, we will be obeying God and honoring the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Dull shared these five ways to honor and appreciate pastors:
- KNOW YOUR PASTOR. 1 Thessalonians 5:12 says, “Know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you.” Without a doubt this verse describes the response to pastors who work spiritually to give godly direction to the flock. Biblically speaking, every congregant is to get to KNOW his pastor. That is, build a relationship with him so as to know his likes and dislikes, as well as his weaknesses and strengths in order to be able to pray for him and encourage him in a more effective way. The more you know your pastor the more you will appreciate his ministry and the more effective his ministry will be to you and your congregation.
- LOVE YOUR PASTOR. 1 Thessalonians 5:13 says, “Esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake.” Many pastors are lonely due to the weight of the spiritual leadership they bear. Often, that weight is so heavy, they cannot even share it with their spouse and close friends. Many pastors go to bed at night with tears in their eyes and hurts in their heart. By consistently loving your pastor through acts of kindness, you will be more of an encouragement than you can ever imagine, and he will have a greater motivation to serve the congregation to the glory of God.
- SUPPORT YOUR PASTOR. 1 Timothy 5:17 says, “Let the elders (pastors) that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine.” The phrase “worthy of double honor” literally means “double remuneration.” In other words, pay your pastor well. Many pastors and their families suffer financially because the congregation does not see the need to pay them adequately. Such a situation does not honor God at all. As a member of your church, do what you can to encourage your fellowship to give your pastor a salary and additional benefits that will enable him to live comfortably so as not to be burdened or get distracted from the ministry to which God has called him. God will bless you if you do so.
- PRAY FOR YOUR PASTOR. 2 Thessalonians 3:1 says, “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you, and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all have not faith.” There are many things for which a congregation can pray for their pastor. But that he may be able to preach the Word of God with power and be protected from them that would harm him is a very significant prayer to consistently take to the throne of grace on his behalf. Doing so will guarantee that your pastor will be much more effective in the pulpit and community ministry.
- FOLLOW YOUR PASTOR. Hebrews 13:7 says, “Remember them that have the rule (spiritual) over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering of their conduct.” Pastors who offer genuine spiritual ministry, who preach the Word of God clearly and who manifest biblical faith are to be followed without resistance or rebellion by each member of the congregation. Those who refuse to do so will answer to the Lord and according to Hebrews 13:17, that will be “unprofitable” for them when they stand before the Lord. Churches do not hire their pastors. It is the Lord Jesus who places pastors in church pulpits. The congregation simply recognizes God’s call to the local assembly as the under-shepherd of Jesus Christ to equip and lead the church into more effective and fruitful Christian service. The congregant who follows the faith of his pastor will be blessed by God on earth will be rewarded by God in heaven and encouraged by his pastor in the church.
“Because each of the above principles is truly biblical,” Dull says, “those who practice them will be truly blessed by God, and in the long run, their pastor will be a more effective shepherd in the local flock where the Lord places him, resulting in the edification of the believers, the strengthening of the church and glory to Almighty God.”
American Pastors Network, is a group of biblically faithful clergy and church liaisons whose objective is to build a permanent infrastructure of like-minded clergy who affirm the authority of Scripture, take seriously Jesus’ command to be the “salt and light” to the culture, encourage informed Christian thinking about contemporary social issues, examine public policy issues without politicizing their pulpits and engage their congregations in taking part in the political process on a non-partisan basis.