Pastor Appreciation: The Ultimate Guide and Gift Ideas

Pastor Appreciation Month was established in 1992 by a group of pastors and church leaders to honor those who serve in ministry.

One of the most challenging but fulfilling jobs in the world is to be a church leader. It will cost these leaders a different kind of preparation, commitment, and dedication to offering their lives as an instrument of God’s grace. On their special day, they won’t ask for much. A simple “thank you” would suffice, but will you let a special day pass by without honoring and celebrating your pastor? I guess not. So show your gratitude to your pastor as you read this guide for Pastor Appreciation.

What is Pastor Appreciation?

This is a celebration about showing gratitude to someone who has put so much heart into serving God by serving people. Celebrating Pastor Appreciation is not a big requirement from God, but it is one of the ways to demonstrate how much we appreciate the people who have responded to God’s calling in their life. 

Even in our little ways, we can show appreciation to our pastors on this day. We often take their jobs for granted. We expect them to always set the bar high in becoming Christlike. But in reality, they’re also not perfect. They deserve to be celebrated too. Once in a while, they will need people who will appreciate and encourage them – people who will tap their shoulders to inform them that they’re doing a great job

When is Pastor Appreciation Day?

Pastor Appreciation Day is usually celebrated every second Sunday of October. October is celebrated as Clergy Appreciation Month to honor, uplift, and encourage pastors and other religious workers. Congregations can celebrate their pastors any time of the year, but this holiday provides a specific day for recognition.

History of Pastor Appreciation Celebration

This Hallmark holiday was first established as the Clergy Appreciation National Day of Honor (or Clergy Appreciation Month) way back in October 1992. But as early as the New Testament in the Bible, Paul (1 Timothy 5:17) already had the concept of a church celebrating the elders (church leaders or ministers) who are worthy of respect and double honor because of their labor of preaching and teaching.

Why Pastor Appreciation is so Important

Before David stood in front of Goliath to defeat him, King Saul and David talked. Saul doubted him, but David had complete confidence that he was qualified to defeat the giant. Remember what David told King Saul? He said that he used to take care of his father’s sheep, so when a lion or a bear came to attack a lamb, David went out of his way to kill it. He laid his life to protect the sheep. (1 Samuel 17:33-35

For David, what qualified Him with his calling was that he took care of his father’s sheep and protected them at all costs. This story is no different from how a church pastor takes care of a congregation. It will take him a lot of courage and sacrifice to respond to God’s calling. It will cost his preparation, his commitment, and his life. So when the LORD said in Jeremiah 3:15 that He would give shepherds after His own heart, He meant it because He has entrusted us leaders who will guide us as we walk in truth. 

A Pastor’s Life is Never Easy

Sadly, we often forget that they are humans too. A pastor’s life is never easy. Their job can be too overwhelming as they have so much responsibility to fulfill. They don’t usually have day-offs. Even in their homes, they are expected to act like one. People always assume that they are always okay. We expect them to be good examples all the time. Yet when they fall short, they are quickly judged. Sometimes, even in sermons, we always expect pastors to convey God’s message perfectly. But when they don’t, we get disappointed. 

To remember their sacrifices

That is why celebrating this event is very significant to a pastor’s life. For them, this will mean that we understand and remember that they are not superheroes. That even if they stumble and fall, they are still loved and appreciated. That they deserve the same love and service they constantly give to everyone in the church. Pastor Appreciation Day is the best time to be reminded of how God uses a single person to be the source of grace to many people. 

Bible Verses for Pastor Appreciation

Jeremiah 3:15

The LORD says that He will give shepherds after His own heart, who will provide people with guidance with knowledge, and proper understanding. True enough, pastors are God’s shepherds in today’s generation.

2 Timothy 4:2

A pastor’s job is not an easy task, but they continue to follow what Paul the Apostle says in this verse. He urges people to be prepared in preaching the Word of God, whether the time is favorable or not. He says to correct and rebuke people with patience and to encourage them with good teaching. 

Ephesians 4:11

A church is the body of Christ, which is composed of people who genuinely believe in Him. It is not a building or a temple. When the church was first assembled, Jesus Christ gave prophets, teachers, evangelists, pastors, and teachers as gifts to equip the church members to serve God. 

Hebrews 13:7

People are instructed never to forget their church leaders, who taught them the Word of God. To think of every good thing that has come from their lives, and follow their example of faith. This verse reminds you to pay attention to how pastors lead people by example. 

1 Thessalonians 1:3

Timothy, Silas, and Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica. They showed gratitude to them by praying for them as they thought of their faithful works, loving deeds, and undying hope because of Christ. This mirrors how you should always thank God and pray for your pastor constantly.

1 Timothy 5:17

It says in this verse that the leaders or elders who work well in preaching and teaching are worthy of respect and honor. This goes to show how your pastor deserves to be appreciated for the kind of labor he gives.

Ways to Show Encouragement to Your Pastor for Pastor Appreciation

Show up

Regardless of your role in the church, whether you are just a church member or part of a ministry, or even a discipleship group leader, your pastor would appreciate it if you showed up. This means being present in the moment, especially while he is preaching a sermon. Don’t just sit pretty and daydream. Be interactive. Be a good listener and an energetic participant. 

Grow in Faith

If you want to show utmost appreciation to your pastor, apply what he teaches in church on Sundays. Do not be one of those people who are only Christians on Sundays. Do not act like one. Instead, be a godly person who walks in truth every day, not because the pastor says so, but because you genuinely love God with all your heart.

Express gratitude

A pastor prepares the whole week for an hour of a sermon. He puts so much dedication into preparing and praying that his message of the Word of God will reach not just your mind but your heart too. So sometimes, a simple gesture of tapping his shoulders and saying, “Thank you, Pastor, I needed to hear that today” would brighten his day.

Be an instrument of grace

You are called to be a follower of Christ because you will also lead others to Him. Pastors don’t spend most of their lives preaching about the gospel to the same people every Sunday. You also have a role to fulfill, which is to go and make disciples too (Matthew 28:19-20). This means that inviting others to attend church is your responsibility. When a church grows, it brings so much encouragement to a pastor’s life. 

Pray for your Pastor and his family

Pastors are not pastors 24/7. They, too, have a life. They have other responsibilities to attend to. The perfect way to encourage your pastor is through praying for him and his family. They have the heaviest role to fulfill, as they are looked up to in church. One wrong move and they are all judged. Especially the pastor. Ask God to give them all the wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and discernment they need to have as they continue being Christ-like. 

How to Celebrate Pastor Appreciation

Give gifts

Find out what he needs or what he’s into. Find out about his hobbies or interests. I’m sure he has mentioned it in one of his preachings. A small token of appreciation for your pastor wouldn’t hurt you.

Show a nice gesture

A nice gesture doesn’t cost much. May it be surprising your pastor with something special or something that would make his day. It can be through acts of service or even with just your words of affirmation.

Pray for him

Pastors are not exempted from life’s trials. In fact, they are more prone to temptations and struggles. The most incredible way to honor and celebrate them is to pray for them and with them. A simple question of “How can I pray for you?” would bring warmth to their hearts. 

Ways to Show Pastor Appreciation

Gift ideas 

Give gift cards

Don’t know what to give your pastor as a token of appreciation? You can give him a paid clothing or grocery shopping spree, or even maybe a paid spa and massage package treats for him and his wife. 

Relaxing getaway 

An all-expense-paid trip to somewhere nice and relaxing. Give your pastor and his family a well-deserved vacation break. This can serve as their family’s quality time. 

Medical insurance

Not everyone can afford this, but your congregation can chip in and pay for your pastor’s medical insurance. You can gather funds to pay for it as a whole or partially. This is for sure a long-term gift that will be very useful in the future. 

Gesture ideas

Bring/cook your Pastor’s favorite food

Who can say no to a home-cooked meal? Even if it’s not one, nobody can say no when their favorite food is offered to them, right? Ask around about your pastor’s favorite food, where to buy it, or how to do it. Trust me, he’ll not only have a full stomach but a full heart as well!

Have meaningful conversation

Did you notice how pastors don’t usually have day-offs? Whether they’re in a mall or a grocery shop, church members always expect them to act like one. But it is not always that they get to talk to people who will not ask for their counsel or advice. Sure, they wouldn’t mind, but come on, give them a break. For once, let them have a meaningful conversation with you that doesn’t involve counseling. 

Volunteer in Ministry

Your church might need an extra hand in different ministries. Go and volunteer! One way of showing gratitude to leaders is to lessen their workload and relieve their stress. They are not superheroes. They need someone like you too. 

Offer to do some housework

Pastors spend their lives leading people to Christ, but they also deserve the same kind of love and service from the people they give their service. Your pastor might need a helping hand in fixing a thing or two in their home – whether cleaning up or renovating something. Whatever it is, I’m sure a little help from you will do.

Organize a party

This doesn’t mean an extravagant celebration. You can surprise your pastor with something special, like planning an important celebration of an event in his life. What’s important is that he will witness how much people love and appreciate everything he does. 

Prayer for Pastor Appreciation

Heavenly Father, You truly are magnificent and victorious. For You have given our church the best pastor we can ever have to guide us and teach us with Your Word. I thank You for the life of our pastor, and for providing him everything that he needs to be a marvelous testimony of Your love. 

Lord, give him the strength and confidence to be bold in speaking the truth in love. Deliver him from all kinds of evil and temptations. I ask that You continue to give him wisdom and knowledge as he leads everyone in a life that has put full trust in You. Provide him with the strength and perseverance to continue his walk with You even if sometimes, everything will not make sense.

Also, Father God, remind him that while serving the church, he is to serve his family first. That discipling others comes only second to discipling his family. Remind him never to forget that after You, his wife should be his second priority, and next is his children. I also thank You for their lives, God. Guide them, and give them patience and understanding as they also live a life that honors You. 

God, help us to submit to these authorities that You have given our church. May our pastor’s love for You be bigger than his desire to be accepted by many. Lastly, may You continue to use his life for Your glory. After all, our pastor may deserve to be celebrated on his special day, but You, Father God, deserve all the praise and glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

In Summary

Churches wouldn’t be where they are today if it weren’t for the pastors who answered God’s calling for their lives. It is never an easy task to be one, but for sure, your church pastor has already given and sacrificed so much just so your church would grow into a God-honoring congregation. 

So when you have the chance, whether it is the month of October or not, go and give your pastor a hug, a tap on the shoulder, a smile, a gift, a card, or anything that you know would make his day. But it wouldn’t hurt anyone if you could celebrate Pastor Appreciation Day in the best way possible. Trust me, it would really mean the world to them. 

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Alex Shute
Alex Shute, MBA
Alex is a family man and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. His passion is to serve the global Church and bring people of diverse backgrounds together to learn & grow.

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