October is Pastor Appreciation Month, and early reminders of that get us to start thinking about our own pastors and how much we appreciate them. This year, get the men in your congregation involved in helping the congregation recognize and thank your pastors.
Our Lord Jesus uses pastors in the lives of his people in so many ways. In turn, God’s people carry a concern for all who serve us in Jesus’ name—our own pastors and pastors who minister in congregations and on mission fields worldwide.
For decades researchers have documented again and again the stressors and challenges faced by those in the public, pastoral ministry. And even the casual observer knows that the pastoral ministry has not gotten any easier over the past decade or two. This year is no exception and, for many pastors, has brought a heavy load, leaving them tired. All of us active in congregations love those who shepherd us, and we actively look for ways to honor and support them.
We hope that your men’s ministry and the other members of your church will find ways to express your appreciation to your pastors all year long and especially during October. One of the best “gifts” you can give will cost nothing. However, it will take advanced planning, thought, and the involvement of many members, as together you develop endings for these three open-ended sentences. Here are the sentence stems you can complete. Use them as thought-starters to help create a letter, poster, or some other creative communication to your pastor.
God has blessed our congregation through our pastor by . . .
Our pastor shows a servant heart when . . .
I see Jesus Christ in our pastor when . . .
While general words of thanks and appreciation mean a lot, your tribute will mean even more if you personalize the language and include specific illustrations. For example:
- God has blessed our congregation through you, Pastor, especially through your sermons. We know you spend a lot of time and effort in writing your messages each week, and it shows. Your stories and the outlines you give us really help all of us follow along and remember what you’ve said.
- You show a servant’s heart so often, Father. All of us who teach here in our parish school love it when you spend time with the kids on the playground. And you always poke your head into each classroom to ask the teachers how we’re doing. We really know you care about us!
- I’m so glad you’re our minister. We have so many elderly members and shut-ins, and somehow you manage to know just what each one needs. I especially appreciate the time you spent with my mom while she was dying this past November and the notes, phone calls, and visits I received from you after she went to heaven. It comforted me so much. I really see Jesus in you!
Forget flowery or formal wording. Simply encourage members to write from the heart—from their hearts to the servant heart of your pastor. Everyone will be glad you did.
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