October has been set aside by many as “Pastor Appreciation Month” and I am often asked, “What can we do to show our pastor we appreciate him?”As a pastors’ wife for over twenty years, I think that I have some good insight on this. While monetary gifts are always a nice gift for a person in ministry to receive, I think that your pastor may truly appreciate these things even more and would make his job of leading you a job that he loves.
Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. (Hebrews 13:1)
Brothers and sisters have a unique relationship. They may fight and argue among themselves, but they are still family and no one else had better mess with them. Applying this principle to your Christian brothers and sisters would change your church. Stop talking about one another. Stop gossiping. Stop sharing how your Christian brother has disappointed you or let you down. If you have a problem with your brother or sister, go to them, not to the rest of the flock. Love them as your brother or sister – you are a part of the same family, act like it.
Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers. (Hebrews 13:2)
When a visitor walks into your church on Sunday, do you greet them? Show them where to go? Help get their kids to their class? Get them a cup of coffee? Offer to sit with them? Introduce them to the pastor?
Welcome that stranger – it may be that they need a friend, a word of encouragement, someone to pray with them or for them. Wouldn’t it be great if that stranger came to know Jesus because of the way that you welcomed him to church? Your pastor needs your help with this every service – he cannot be the only one who is welcoming to visitors.
Continue to remember those who are in prison and those who are mistreated. (Hebrews 13:3)
Compassion… Have compassion. Take time to love and help those who have a need. Sometimes you need to quit focusing on your own hurts and see the pain that your brother is feeling.
Honor your marriage. (Hebrews 13:4)
Love your husband. Love your wife. Protect your marriage.
Don’t pursue money. (Hebrews 13:5)
Do not let your desire for money and things keep you from serving God. Your family and your relationship with God is worth more than anything that money can buy.
Be content with what you have. (Hebrews 13:5)
Bigger is not always better. The race for more is never ending. Be content with what you have.
Know that God is near. (Hebrews 13:5)
You are not alone. No matter what you are going through, God is there. He hears your cries, He knows your pain. He loves your laugh. He rejoices with you. He loves you and will never leave you.
Do not live in fear. (Hebrews 13:6)
If you could do anything for God without the fear of failure, what would you do? Stop letting fear keep you from doing what God wants you to do and living the life God wants you to have.
Honor your leaders. (Hebrews 13:7)
Ministry is hard. The job of a pastor is compared to the job of the shepherd. It is his job to feed, protect, and lead the sheep. But sheep do not always want to be led. Sheep sometimes see only the grass in front of them and not the whole field that the shepherd sees. The sheep may resist the prodding of the shepherd, not willing to leave their little patch of grass or they may think that the grass is greener on the other side. The sheep thinks that the shepherd would do a better job if he would do what the sheep tells him to do. They may not realize that what they want is not what is best for them – the shepherd sees the entire field and recognizes the dangers and perils the sheep may face. The sheep may revolt against the shepherd when he does not give in to their ways, not realizing that the shepherd is only looking out for their good. Let your shepherd be the one that leads.
Know what the Bible teaches so that you do not follow false teachings. (Hebrews 13:9)
The greener grass that you see is Astroturf, it is not real. Learn what the Bible teaches about Jesus, salvation, heaven, hell. Do not fall for a gospel that says that you can name it and claim it, get an abundance for your seed offering, that there is special power in a prayer cloth that has been blessed by the evangelist.
Give praise. (Hebrews 13:15)
There is power in praise. When we stop to take time to praise God for the blessings He has given us, it changes us. It lifts our hearts, it focuses our minds, and it reminds us of who God is and what He has promised.
Do good. (Hebrews 13:16)
Simply do good. The book of James reminds us that what we do is a proof of our faith. “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.”
Share with others. (Hebrews 13:16)
Share what you have, but more importantly, share your life. It will be messy, time consuming, and painful but it will also bring you a joy you have likely never known.
Share your gifts with your church! Maybe that means that you join the praise team or band, volunteer to teach a class, produce video or run sound, rock babies in the nursery, clean bathrooms, serve coffee, help park cars, lead a small group, bake cookies, visit the sick, shut in or imprisoned.
Perhaps this is the greatest gift you can give your pastor for Pastor’s Appreciation month– a willingness to serve wherever and whenever.
Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority. (Hebrews 13:17)
If your leader has been called by God and is following that call, then it is your duty to let them lead.
But, we hate that word, submit. We get mad at our leaders when they do not take our side or do things our way. We leave if we do not like what they say or how they say it. We talk about them and make sure everyone else knows our feelings about them. We scrutinize and criticize not only him, but his family.
That is just what Satan wants you to do. Destroy the leader, destroy the church. The verse reminds us that it is in our best interest to follow our leader, “Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.”
If your pastor is busy appeasing you, then he will have no time to do what God has called Him to do. If you allow God to work through your pastor, then you will reap the benefit and the blessing.
Pray for him.
I truly believe that the greatest need of our spiritual leaders is to be bathed in the prayer of the saints.
What should I pray for my pastor?
- Pray for him to have time to be alone with God and to study the word so that he is prepared when he stands in the pulpit.
- Pray for him to be a shepherd that smells like sheep – one that is not afraid to be with and help the lost lamb.
- Pray for his wife.
- Pray for his family.
- Pray that God will bless him, his ministry, and your church.
This October, I encourage you to use this list to show him how much you are. It will take time, energy, and commitment … or you could just give him a card.