Pastor Appreciation Month

Focus on the Family named and began emphasizing Pastor Appreciation Month in 1994, reminding congregations that it was biblical and proper to honor their pastoral staff and pastoral families throughout the year, but suggesting that they set aside the month of October for a special tangible tribute. For those churches that preferred a single weekend, they recommended the second weekend of the month. However, honoring a church’s entire pastoral staff and their families can be done at any time — and, in fact, should become a normal part of a church’s ongoing care of these special families throughout the entire year.

We believe that the concept of pastor appreciation started with the Apostle Paul as he was establishing the first Christian churches. In 1 Timothy, he wrote, “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching” (1 Tim. 5:17). And, in 1 Thessalonians, he said, “Respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work” (1 Thess. 5:12-13).

Pastor Tim says this is hard for him to mention, but here are some helpful suggestions:

  • Pray. I’m sure most of you pray for others. Thank you for doing that. If you are able to please add the pastors family, church leaders, and the church fellowship to your prayer time. We all need prayer!
  • A sincere note. Yep. Seriously. The best gifts from church members are cards or letters letting the pastor and his family know they are appreciated for their work. PS. We love cards from the kiddos as well.
  • Bring a meal or treats. Bringing food for your pastor and his family is also an awesome way to show appreciation for their ministry. Cookies and treats are also much appreciated!
  • Offer to help. Serve within the local church to help with coverage for the weekend duties. Offer to help in kids ministry, be a greeter, clean-up after service, etc. Offer to help take care of anything last minute.
  • A date night. Your pastor and his wife will love the special time together, and know a trusted friend in the fellowship is able to watch the kiddos.
  • Pastors don’t expect a gift. If you don’t feel moved or led to do something special for your pastor, there’s no need. They’re not sitting around waiting to be formally appreciated. But if you feel that they’ve made a difference in your life, church, or community, reach out and tell them you are thankful for how God is working through him! It would be a pleasant surprise for any of us to hear that, wouldn’t it?

It just can’t hurt to brighten the day of your pastor and his family.

Pastor Tim Molter: E-mail
Anna Molter: E-mail

Book: Small, Strong Congregations (Creating Strengths and Health for Your Congregation) by Kennon L. Callahan

Many books suggest that the future of the Christian movement rests with the success of mega-congregations. These authors also conclude that small congregations are doomed.

But author Kennon L. Callahan, a noted church consultant, moves ahead of such thinking and envisions a very different future.

In this book, Callahan confirms that the twenty-first century will be the age of consciously small, strong congregations that are dedicated to advancing God’s mission.

Callahan suggests that small congregations should assess themselves by eight distinctive qualities afforded by their size:

  1. Mission and service
  2. Compassion and shepherding
  3. Community and belonging
  4. Self-reliance and self-sufficiency
  5. Worship and hope
  6. Leaders and team
  7. Just enough space and facilities
  8. Giving and generosity

Callahan doesn’t try to convince the small church leader to adopt a mega-church mentality. Rather, he challenges them to look within their respective communities and tap into the power and the resources that already reside there.

And, Callahan does challenge the small church to live a life of service to the community rather than retreat into a life of survival. Some are preoccupied with a lot of land, a powerful preacher, more members, and a beautiful building, but they are preoccupied with “us” and the church growth model rather than the mission of growth.

Small, Strong Congregations have a passion for mission not a mansion, and they focus on the family more than facility. It is about mission not membership.

How to get this resource:

Book: Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome by R. Kent Hughes

How does one measure success in ministry? 8 out of 10 pastors will statistically never lead a church of more than 150 members, and every year thousands of God’s servants leave the ministry convinced they are failures. What are we to do? Years ago, in the midst of a crisis of faith, Kent Hughes almost became one of them.

This book describes their journey and their liberation from the “success syndrome” – the misguided belief that success in ministry means increased numbers. According to all the formulas, the church Ken Hughes planted should have been wildly successful. And in today’s world it is easy to be seduced by the secular thinking that places a number on everything.

Kent and Barbara first determined that the basic problem was their definition of “success”. After looking at the life of Moses in Numbers 20 where God told Moses to speak to the rock in order to give the people fresh drinking water instead we find Moses struck the rock twice. By all outward appearance Moses appeared to be successful as the people got the water that they wanted through a miracle, however God didn’t view the event same way as man did as God was looking for obedience to His word.

The authors of this book encourage readers that true success in ministry lies not in numbers but in several key areas: faithfulness, serving, loving, believing, prayer, holiness, and a Christlike attitude. Their thoughts will encourage readers who grapple with feelings of failure and lead them to a deeper, fuller understanding of success in Christian ministry.

Here is one resolution I would encourage you to consider making: regular prayer and encouragement for your pastor. Here is the conclusion of Kent and Barbara Hughes’s book, Liberating Ministry from the Success Syndrome, and thought it would be worth reprinting here:

Every pastor knows that the strength of the ministry rests on prayer, and that it is those faithful souls who pray regularly for him and the church who bring God’s special blessing upon the ministry. This fact invites a marvelous “what if” scenario. What if not just a few but the entire leadership and congregation prayed in detail every day for the pastor and their church? What would happen to his heart, to his preaching, to worship, to evangelism, to missions? Can there be any doubt that the minister and his people would know greater enablement than ever before in their lives?

Prayer is where the congregation must begin in this whole matter of encouragement. Will you make a personal commitment to encourage your pastor by daily prayer for him and his work? If so, we leave you with this suggestive outline, from which you can draw your own prayer list.

Pray that he will be a true success: that he will be faithful, true to God’s Word and hardworking; that he will be a servant, following the example of our foot-washing Lord; that he will love God with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength; that he will truly believe what he believes about Christ; that he will lead a holy life, and not succumb to the sensuality of our culture; that he will lead a life of deep prayer, following Jesus’ example; that he will have a positive attitude free from jealousy.

Pray for his ministry–for his preaching, for time to prepare, for understanding the Word, for application, for the power of the Holy Spirit in delivery, for Sunday’s services, for his leadership, for immediate problems he is facing.

Pray for his marriage–for time for each other, for communication, for a deepening love, for fidelity.

Pray for his children by name. Perhaps you might ask the pastor or his wife how they would like you to pray for their children.

Consider printing this out, placing it in your Bible, and putting this prayer into practice.

How to get this resource:

Devo: Pastors Are People Too (7 Days): What They Won’t Tell You but You Need to Know

In light of October being Pastor Appreciation Month (started by Focus on the Family in 1994), here is a recommended 7-Day Devotion for you to enjoy.

devoimage720x405A healthy church requires a healthy pastor. Discover proven ways to make a positive impact in your pastor’s world and the life of your church. This practical devotion offers tangible ways to better understand and care for the pastor who cares so deeply about you. Pastors and their families live under incredible pressures. Their lives are played out in a fishbowl, with the entire congregation and community watching their every move.

They are expected to have ideal families, to be perfect people, to always be available, to never be down and to have all the answers we need to keep our own lives stable and moving forward. Those are unrealistic expectations to place on anyone, yet most of us are disappointed when a pastor becomes overwhelmed, seems depressed, lets us down or completely burns out. Learn how you can help and better appreciate your pastor and his family through this free 7-day devotion.