Question: "How can I show appreciation to my pastor?"

Answer: Showing appreciation for your pastor is a good thing. He needs to be appreciated, and, what’s more, he needs to know he’s appreciated. There’s a difference. If your appreciation for your pastor is never expressed, then it’s hard for him to know that you actually harbor good feelings about him. Many churches observe the month of October as “Pastor Appreciation Month,” and this can be a helpful prompt to sharing encouragement. October is as good a month as any to love on your pastor—but your appreciative words and actions shouldn’t be limited to one month out of the year.

Showing appreciation to your pastor is commended in Scripture. “Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work” (1 Thessalonians 5:12–13). The job of a pastor (literally, a “shepherd”) is to teach the Word of God, show the love of God, and lead the children of God on earth. Pastors should be held in “the highest regard.” In fact, a good teaching pastor is “worthy of double honor,” according to 1 Timothy 5:17.

There are many ways to show appreciation to your pastor. A simple word of encouragement, verbal or written, is always nice. Send a card. Write a note. Include some cookies with the note. Give your pastor a special plaque or certificate. Find out what is his favorite food or place to eat; then invite him and his family over for that food or give him a gift card to that restaurant. Enroll him in a “pie of the month club”—the church ladies commit to baking a different kind of pie each month and delivering it to your pastor. Give him tickets to see his favorite sports team. Give him a gift he can use long-term: a book he’s been wanting, a dry cleaning certificate, a gasoline card, car wash coupons, a necktie. Send your pastor and his family on a vacation, or just a weekend getaway. Schedule a special service and plan on testimonies from the congregation to honor your pastor. Collect photos and memorabilia and put together a scrapbook for your pastor, covering the time of his ministry thus far. Or use those photos to create a video. Have the Sunday school children draw pictures and present them to your pastor in a special ceremony. Remodel his office.

Probably the best way to show appreciation to your pastor is to follow his instructions to follow Jesus. News of the church’s fidelity to Christ was all that the apostle John needed to be encouraged: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 1:4). Nothing will make your pastor happier than for you to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).

Your pastor needs your encouragement, so show your appreciation for him and his work. Hebrews 13:17 is a clear instruction to honor your pastor, and it gives the reasons why: “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.” Your pastor watches out for your spiritual well-being. Will you make his job a “burden” or a “joy”? Give him some joy today, and send some appreciation his way.