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The word “pastor” has become a common title for those who oversee our churches, guide us spiritually, and look after our souls. The origin of the word comes from the Latin pascere meaning to feed.
The Bible adds meaning to the title by giving us the image of the humble shepherd who protects his sheep from predators and lovingly guides them to food and water. Leading from the front and prodding from behind, he searches out the strays and carries the weak and injured on his shoulders. Without the shepherd’s constant care, the sheep would be picked off by wild animals, unable to find food and water, trapped by brambles, or subject to fall from the cliffs and crags. The Bible tells us that Jesus is the Great Shepherd, the guardian of our souls. To look after us in our earthly lives, however, Jesus has called many “under shepherds” or pastors.
Like sheep, we are often oblivious to the great care our pastors extend to us. Imagine what a day in the life of a pastor must entail. Sermons and teaching require hours of preparation. There are programs to keep afloat. They are on call whenever we encounter sickness, heartache, or crisis. And through it all, they must be constant and enduring in prayer on our behalf, while maintaining an example of humility and righteous living.
We often hear when pastors fall from grace, but we rarely hear about those who year after year rise above the temptations and give all they have to fulfill their God-given calling. Like the Great Shepherd, they give their lives daily for those who have been given into their care. Jeremiah 3:15 (KJV) says, “I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” What a gift; what a promise!
The month of October has been designated as Ministry Appreciation Month. How can we best show our appreciation? We posed that question to some of the pastors we know. In every case, the following three points were mentioned:
1. Be constant in prayer. In 1 Thessalonians 5:25 (MSG), Paul says, “Friends, keep up your prayers for us.” Paul understood that even great men of God are human beings. Just like us, they sometimes find themselves weary, discouraged, confused, and vulnerable. Your pastor depends on your faithful prayers for him, his family, and his ministry.
2. Be faithful to encourage. If you think your pastor gets his or her encouragement from God, you are right. However, God often delivers that encouragement through our words and deeds. Proverbs 12:25 (KJV) says, “Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.” You can begin by taking your pastor’s hand and delivering a heartfelt thank you. Keep your words simple and positive, filled with life. For example: “I learned something important from your sermon this morning. Thanks for all the time you spent preparing it.” “Thanks for your prayers. They are making a big difference in my life.” If you’d like to do more, consider sending a thank you Ecard or browse our Ministry Appreciation cards and gifts to find just the right sentiment to truly bless your pastor and his family.
3. Be ready to lend a hand. Typically, the smaller the church, the more the pastor is asked to handle. Be ready to jump in and help. That might mean the physical upkeep of the building or helping with hospital calls and visits to shut-ins. You can also express your thankfulness through monetary gifts, babysitting, gifts certificates, or by delivering a nutritious, family meal. Running errands may not seem like much but in a pastor’s harried day, it can mean a great deal. Keep your eyes and ears open and you will soon be aware of many ways to bless your pastor and lighten his load.
Your pastor is a gift to you from God, placed in your life to teach, encourage, challenge, strengthen, and keep you growing spiritually. Paul says it best in 1 Thessalonians 5:12–13 (MSG): “Friends, we ask you to honor those leaders who work so hard for you, who have been given the responsibility of urging and guiding you along in your obedience. Overwhelm them with appreciation and love!”
Send a quick word of encouragement to your pastor today through our Ministry Appreciation Ecard Studio.
Looking for more ways to bless your entire ministry team? Check out these lists of ideas for your pastor, pastor’s spouse, youth minister, Sunday school teacher, children’s ministry coordinator, worship leader, church secretary, and small group leader in our #ReturnTheBlessing Ministry Appreciation campaign. And, be sure to check out these related articles:
Simple, Heartfelt Ways to Bless Your Ministry Team
Pastor Appreciation Ideas
Dear Woman in Ministry
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