Pastor appreciation can sometimes be superficial. We often think we have to “do something special” in order for the pastor to understand they are appreciated. As a pastor myself, I won’t turn down baked goods or a restaurant gift card, but I’ve come to learn that honest appreciation is experienced through ministry participation and honest servant-hood.
Here are 7 things I love to hear from my parishioners (and I’m sure every other pastor can agree):
1) “I’m growing spiritually.”
I love watching people grow in their spiritual journey. What’s even better – people recognizing they need to grow and realizing they are actually growing. It’s honest and transparent and a beautiful sign that the congregation is becoming a community of growing believers.
Let your pastor know you’re growing spiritually. It will bring purpose to their service.
2) “I’ve seen you grow spiritually.”
As a pastor, my goal is to help people “follow me, as I follow Christ.” What does that mean? It means I want to be a lifelong learner, who is always growing. One of the biggest complements you could give me, is to let me know that you see me growing in the faith. I don’t want to be the same pastor and leader that I was last year – I want to be better.
One of my parishioners recently told me they didn’t like me at all five years ago. But now, after watching me grow and growing themselves, they have a new appreciation for discipleship. Their story has become one of my highlights in ministry.
Let your pastor know when you see growth in their life – it will honour their leadership!
3) “Your sermon inspired/challenged ME.”
There’s nothing worse, than to hear someone say, “I wish [insert name] was here to hear that!” There’s only one person you need to be concerned with, when it comes to receiving a sermon – that’s you.
When you tell your pastor the sermon made an impact on you, you’re telling them they’re in-tune with the Spirit’s leading. The sermon was for those who heard the sermon. “Let those who have ears to hear, let theme hear” (Luke 8:8).
4) “I can’t wait to apply that sermon!”
Alright, maybe we don’t walk out of a Sunday service saying that exactly, but you know what I mean. When you want to apply the message, you’re saying that it isn’t only inspiring and challenging, it’s also worth my time and effort.
Responding and applying the message tells your pastor that their preparation was worth every minute. So if you want to show your appreciation, let your pastor know how you are applying their sermon.
5) “How can I serve?”
Ministry isn’t left for the pastor to do – the Church (all believes) are responsible to do the work of the ministry. I can’t think of a better act of servant-hood, than for a parishioner to simply ask: “how can I serve?” It blesses my heart every single time!
Just remember, when you do ask, be ready to focus on serving and what you do. Sometimes pastors need help doing something ‘fun’, while other times the toilet needs un-clogging (and everything in between).
6) “I prayed for you today.”
You may never know what your pastor faces each day. Sometimes it’s inner spiritual warfare, while other times they might be helping someone through the darkest moment of their lives.
As a pastor, I know “my strength comes from the Lord,” but the journey is still difficult. Knowing my parishioners are praying for me, is a huge blessing of encouragement. Make sure your pastor knows you’re praying for them!
7) “How can I help your spouse/kids?”
I will always accept help, but when someone offers to help my family, I honestly know they understand the kind of sacrifice that’s behind pastoral ministry.
My family means the world to me, and I do everything I can to be the best husband and father I can be. So when someone offers to bless my family and help make life a little easier, I couldn’t ask for anymore!
We’ve had people offer to do everything from washing our dishes (after our second child was born) to the Church board giving our family an extra week of holidays. All of which cost next to nothing, but can mean everything!
Think of ways to bless your pastor’s family – it will take appreciation to a new level!
Together, all seven say:
These are seven authentic ways that I know my parishioners are appreciative of our ministry in our local church and community. You can do the same for your local leaders and pastors.
Can you think of another way to show appreciation for your pastor? Share it in the comments below, so we can learn together!
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