Have you ever received a nice, expensive gift, but you really would have rather had something simple. I have learned to ask my wife what she wants before I go out spend time and money on something she’s going to return anyway. Sometimes all she wants on her ‘special’ day is a quiet night at home.

Well, I had the opportunity to spend some time with pastors this week for a ‘Pastor/Clergy Appreciation Lunch’. October is Pastor Appreciation Month. It can be rather awkward for a pastor. What if no one in the congregation says anything? Do they not appreciate their pastor? Several pastors I talked with said their church never did anything publicly. Others said though it was noticed, but there are other things they would rather receive.

So, I decided to ask pastors to tell me what they really wanted from their congregation for ‘Pastor Appreciation’. The answers may surprise you. I have three categories: Personal, Ministry, and Simple.

Here’s what they said. (These are actual quotes from pastors)

Personal (These may cost a little time or money)

  • Babysitting
  •  A gift certificate to their favorite restaurant for a “date night.” Include an offer to babysit or provide childcare if they have young kids.
  • A gift certificate for an overnight stay at a hotel in the region to give the pastor and spouse some down time.  Include a gift card for a meal or two as well.
  • A gift card connected to the special hobbies or favorite outings the pastor and his family enjoy.
  • A gift card for a special set of books or research tools the pastor has wanted or needed.
  • 6 month Sabbatical – for study, mission trip, or vision

Ministry as a Pastor (These will help your pastor feel appreciated throughout the year)

  • Partnership in serving the community, motivating others to live out their faith
  • Read their Bible first!
  • Everyone to come to Sunday School or Bible Study- whatever you want to call it- for a month.
  • More faithful worship attendance
  • A Praying People
  • Openness to growth, new ideas
  • Steady outreach, invitation & welcome to others

Simple Appreciation (anyone can do this)

  •  I would like just one single person to notice and acknowledge.
  • A sincere acknowledgement from those I’ve been blessed to serve, individually.
  • I think the one thing that every Pastor needs to be given, is a knowledge that his people really appreciate him. I’m pretty sure each of us, at some time, has been in a place where we just did not feel that most of the people really appreciated what we did.
  • A heartfelt letter communicating the specific things you appreciate and assuring them of your prayers.

Here are more unselfish wants of your pastor…

  • The congregation to find a unique mission through which to serve the community and express the love of God
  • Unity in the church
  • Obedience & Service
  • An abiding spirit of gratitude
  • To grow more and more in love with Jesus Christ and spread His truth & love

I hope this helps each church member realize that your pastor just needs to know that he’s appreciated. Most of the ideas I received are simply, unselfish acts anyone can do.

So, here’s what I want for ‘Pastor Appreciation Month.’ My primary ministry gift is teaching/encouragement. So if you want to do something to make this pastor feel appreciated, let me encourage you through my preaching and teaching. To study God’s Word through the week, prepare how I am going to present it to the congregation, then share it – is the most fulfilling thing I do. So my Sunday morning & Sunday evening messages are my gift to my congregation. Their attendance and surrender to God is their gift to me. I am blessed!

Read some of my similar articles: Texting & Other Ways to Annoy Your Pastor, Why I Twitter as a Pastor

Do you have any ideas for Pastor Appreciation Month?