Courier Survey: Half of churches observe Pastor Appreciation Day

About half of churches represented in a recent informal survey regularly set aside a day each year to honor their pastor or ministerial staff.

A significant share of the 68 readers who took the online survey, 42.65 percent, said their churches do not regularly observe Pastor Appreciation Day.

Of the readers whose churches do observe Pastor Appreciation Day, the majority (55.9 percent) said their churches honor only the senior pastor, while 44.1 percent said their churches honor both the senior pastor and church staff members.

Answering a question aimed at senior pastors, slightly more than half of respondents, 53.06 percent, said their churches are “generous” in expressing their appreciation. Another 32.65 percent said that “some individuals express their support, but the church seldom does so as a corporate body.” Only two respondents said their churches are “not generous” in expressing support.

When church staff members other than the pastor were asked the same question, just under a third, 31.82 percent, said their churches are “generous” in expressing their appreciation, while another 45.45 percent said they hear expressions of support from individuals but seldom experience the same from the corporate body.

The survey also asked spouses of ministers to rate how the church expresses its appreciation to pastors and staff. More than 44 percent of spouses rated the church’s expressions of appreciation as “generous,” while 32.56 percent said some individuals express appreciation but the church seldom does as a corporate body. More than 9 percent of staff ministers’ spouses said their churches are “not generous” in expressing appreciation to staff members.

Among churches that observe Pastor Appreciation Day, more than one in three, 38.81 percent, present a monetary gift to the pastor or staff member, while 32.84 percent of churches don’t give a gift, according to the survey. Some respondents said their churches present gift cards to the pastor or staff.

In the comments section of the survey, respondents offered the following statements:

  • “If a pastor survives for any length of time unscathed and without controversy at an SBC church, then they deserve a day, a month, money, a vacation — all those things — to recognize their rare accomplishment.”
  • “Take time to really think about what your pastor needs. Appreciate him with support all year.”
  • “Expressing appreciation on a regular basis is important to relating to [ministers] and showing them we love them.”
  • “Having served in several SBC churches that showed great appreciation for the pastor, it has been especially difficult to serve where little or no gratitude is expressed and members seem to be entitled and bitter. When the world gives generous bonuses and benefits to its workers and leaders but the church fails in this regard, it drives even the most committed ministers to a place where their efforts are appreciated.”
  • “With the pressures that pastors face, it’s much easier to feel unappreciated. I believe even a little goes a long way.”
  • “My church seems to think that their appreciation is connected to the pastor’s salary and therefore needs no further mention.”
  • “I pastor a great church, but they seldom recognize accomplishments or special occasions.”
  • “I see their appreciation every day. It’s not always very obvious, but if you look, it’s there.”