Well, for the first time since 1998, I am not a pastor during pastor appreciation month. Over the course of almost fifteen years as a pastor, I have been on the receiving end of many wonderful gifts but I think of those in ministry who are not appreciated. Being a pastor is the best possible calling in the world but it can also be the hardest. So, with that in mind, I want to take this opportunity to encourage you in the right direction, but let’s go back to the Word to be reminded of what God says:
 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,  to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
(Ephesians 4:11-12 ESV)
Verse eleven can be very humbling to the pastor. God is the One who has blessed the church with the ones who preach and teach. God, by His grace, has made pastors and we need to be first and foremost thankful to Him for them. I would also suggest that being a pastor can sometimes be a very thankless job. It is the highest calling but others may view it as being nothing more than an employee of the peeps…and verse twelve so disses that foolish notion. So…let me offer a few do’s and don’ts and give you a few ideas for pastor appreciation month.
1. Do be specific in the words you use. ‘Thanks for all you do’ is okay, you know he does a lot but you can hone in on one or two specifics in a way he has blessed you, personally. Something like ‘thanks that you’re always well prepped every Sunday morning and for the time you spent praying and reading with us, when I lost my job back in May.’
2. Do think through the gifts that you give him. Do you know him well enough as to his likes and dislikes? If you don’t, maybe talk to his wife or someone who is closer to him in the congregation. (And please, ladies, don’t give your pastor something girlie!)
3. Don’t think that price is the most important thing. A few words of thanks well written may be better received than a wad of cash. Those well written words may be pulled out again thirty years down the road, and read again and cherished again and wept over again.
4. Do be creative. He will appreciate and thank you for whatever you give him but go the extra mile. Google it or ask friends for some suggestions.
1. A card with well chosen words in the verse and in what you write is not a bad idea. Pastors are word guys and even if it takes you a little longer, take the time to write something out that is thoughtful. Practice it on a rough sheet of paper to get it just right and then transcribe it onto a card.
2. A good book is always appreciated. Pastors love books. If you know the type of stuff that he reads or don’t, you can ask some questions to find out what he needs and what he wants. Ask these questions way before October but maybe hint around as it gets closer, just to be safe that he hasn’t picked it up. A gift card from Amazon or the local bookstore is also an easy gift and your pastor will thank you…a lot.
3. Gifts of service are always appreciated. If your pastor’s kids are little, offer them a night out, on your dime, with a gift certificate to a restaurant, and look after their kiddies for the night…and tell them to stay out as late as they want. (Date nights are sometimes hard to find for busy pastoral couples.)
4. Share the wealth. If you own a time share or a convertible, plan for you pastor to be benefitted from something God has blessed you with. You may want to save the convertible ride for warmer weather but a hand-written gift certificate to use next summer would do the trick. Maybe pass the hat at church and send them away for a couple nights over the weekend.
5. A meal with you and your family is always appreciated. Some pastor’s families just never get the invites. Some assume that they are always over at people’s homes, and sometimes this may be the case, but often it isn’t. Sometimes pastor’s family do lots of entertaining but are often home alone when they don’t have others over.
6. Leadership conferences are always good for the souls of your pastor and his wife. Shepherd’s Conference, at John MacArthur’s church, is a guy’s only deal but Together for the Gospel and Gospel Coalition are both a guy and gal thing. If it’s not in his benefits package, that is one gift that will always be appreciated. One pastor said that getting away to a conference every year and mingling with other pastor brothers is a good reminder that he’s not crazy.
Please value your pastor. He spends lots of hours in the study, prepping to serve the body up a hot spiritual meal for every Sunday morning…and sometimes he is completely bagged by the time he is done. He counsels more than you know and prays for you and your family and church family on a regular basis. Sometimes he misses some important and restful times with his own family because ministry calls. Remember, your pastor is a gift from God. Honour your God and encourage His servant and his family in the month of October…or anytime!