October traditionally is set aside as Pastor Appreciation Month in Southern Baptist life, when conscientious church members demonstrate in tangible ways their gratefulness for God’s servants.
In August, the Babylon Bee, a satirical Christian website that takes a light-hearted (and sometimes irreverent) look at religious and political news, posted an article listing “10 easy things you can do this Sunday to encourage your pastor and let him know that you care.”
Looking for some ideas? Here’s some (not-so-good) suggestions borrowed from the Babylon Bee NOT to consider:
— “Ask him what book of the Bible the church has been studying for the last three years. Pastors love it when you have no clue that he’s been faithfully preaching through the gospels for years, even though you’ve been to almost every service. So make sure to ask him every Sunday, ‘What book are we in today?’
— “Call his sermon a ‘speech.’ This is a really easy way to encourage your pastor, and it won’t take much effort on your part. Just a quick ‘Great speech, brother’ can lift a pastor’s spirits in no time.
— “Make sure he knows you would be volunteering more if literally everything else weren’t more important to you. Every time you decline to serve the church in even the smallest way, tell the pastor that literally everything else is more important. Soccer games, the latest Nicholas Sparks movie, laundry day, or even just general apathy — a man of God loves hearing that all these things and more always take precedence over the body of Christ.
— “Write him an anonymous critical letter. There’s nothing more encouraging to a pastor who’s battling personal demons and fending off thoughts of depression and anxiety than a scathing rebuke you won’t even sign your name to.
— “Conk out in the front row. Pastors never feel more like a shepherd than when their flock is resting peacefully, especially when he’s right in the middle of an impassioned plea for attendees to repent and believe the gospel. Make sure to snore loudly to encourage those around you as well.”
Before The Courier’s readers get the wrong idea: Really, DON’T do these!
In fact, doing the exact opposites, not just in October, but regularly throughout the year, might make a good start, though:
• Let your pastor know how much you’ve been enjoying his latest sermon series … and please get the book or Scripture passage correct! Impress him by quoting the Scripture from memory.
• Tell someone else about how helpful his messages are to you, or compliment his use of contemporary illustrations. Invite someone to church this Sunday!
• Volunteer for a church role without having to be asked. Offer to greet guests, or surprise everyone by singing out joyfully during a hymn or praise chorus — provided, of course, you can carry a tune reasonably well.
• Send a personal note or email of encouragement to him. Be sure to include some kind remarks about his wife and family. Perhaps offer to watch their children so they can have a night out.
• A rousing, hearty “amen” — at the appropriate time, of course — may be just the inspiration your pastor needs to hear. (It also might startle someone else awake who should be listening, preventing that embarrassing snore.)
• Oh … and a monetary expression, a trip, a new suit coat (and dress for his spouse), a new lawn mower or set of tools, a comfortable recliner or desk chair, a painting for his home, a gift certificate for books or a local restaurant, or tickets to a favorite team’s ballgame wouldn’t hurt either.
Put a little thought and effort into expressing appreciation for your pastor this year. After all, “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching” (1 Timothy 5:17).