Editor’s Word: Pastor Appreciation — An Opportunity to Begin a Habit

William James, one of the key leaders in the development of psychology in America, once said, “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” To appreciate is to realize the value, quality or magnitude of something or someone. 

October is Pastor Appreciation Month, and while every day should be a day we show appreciation to our pastors, October is a month that was established in 1992 with the purpose of encouraging and appreciating pastors, staff ministers, missionaries and other Christian workers. 

Being a pastor can be a rewarding and uplifting experience, and it can also be troubling and difficult. Jeff Iorg, president of Gateway Seminary in California, said, “Being a pastor — depending on the day — is either the best job in the world or the worst. What causes a man to take on a job like this and stay with it? Only one reason: a profound sense of God’s call.”

As Christians, part of our assembling together is to encourage one another. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.”

Pastors need encouragement and appreciation. Those who work hard at preaching and teaching should receive double honor, according to 1 Timothy 5:17. According to Barna Research, not only do most pastors see preaching as important, but 57 percent believe they are good at it. 

Ministers go through times of loneliness, fatigue, disappointment, discouragement and, too often, depression. Many struggle financially. In fact, according to the latest information from LifeWay Research, compensation for full-time Southern Baptist pastors and church staff has lagged behind the growth in the cost of living over the past two years. Almost 70 percent of pastors’ wives typically work outside the home because of financial need.

Very few pastors would bring it up, but one of the great ways you can show appreciation to your pastor is to give him a positive, handwritten thank-you card with a check, gift card, or cash inside. If he has smaller children, appropriate gifts for them would echo your gratitude for his kids. Don’t neglect his wife. She is usually not singled out for honor, but she is worthy of various expressions of appreciation. Let her know you love and care about her. Her husband often spends time with others who need him, but she also needs time with him. Why not give your pastor and his wife an all-expenses paid getaway in order to refresh and renew?

Has God used your pastor and his family to bless you? Then let them know it in tangible and memorable ways. In 1 Timothy 5:18, Paul wrote that “the laborer is worthy of his wages.” The pastor who ministers to us and labors among us should be honored. Oct. 14 is Pastor Appreciation Day this year. The whole month is regarded as a unique and special opportunity to show love (value) to your pastor. If you have received a blessing through his ministry, then be a blessing to him and his family every day — especially this October. It is a great opportunity to begin a lifelong habit.