This October, we’ll celebrate pastors and church leaders worldwide during Pastor Appreciation Month. This observance began as a way to show gratitude to those who have given their time and talents to selflessly serve in the ministry.
While there are many ways to show appreciation for your pastor, we’ve gathered some ideas to make this year’s celebration extra special. Whether you’re wondering about the history of pastor appreciation month, looking for Bible verses to share, or searching for creative gift ideas, read on for inspiration!
Estimated reading time: 19 minutes
Table of contents
- When is Pastor Appreciation Month and Day in 2023?
- The History of Pastor or Clergy Appreciation Month
- 5 Reasons You Should Celebrate Pastor Appreciation Month
- Bible Verses for Pastor Appreciation Day
- 6 Ideas to Celebrate Your Pastor on Pastor Appreciation Day
- Celebrating Clergy Appreciation Month
- Further Resources on Pastors
When is Pastor Appreciation Month and Day in 2023?
The entire month of October is designated as Pastor Appreciation Month. There’s also a day specially dedicated to honoring your pastors and clergy.
Pastor Appreciation Day falls on the second Sunday of October. In 2023, Pastor Appreciation Day will be observed on October 8th.
Be sure to mark your calendar!
Our pastors are a source of strength, guidance, and support. They go above and beyond to care for our needs, both spiritual and emotional.
This month, and Pastor Appreciation Day in particular, provides an opportunity to let your pastor know how much you appreciate all they do for you and your community
The History of Pastor or Clergy Appreciation Month
Pastor or Clergy Appreciation Month and Clergy Appreciation Day became an official observance in 1992. The organization Focus on the Family first initiated the drive to promote October as National Clergy Appreciation Month.
H.B. London was particularly instrumental in championing this initiative. He worked with Focus on the Family for about two decades and was passionate about building ministries and resources to serve pastors.
Hallmark started offering Clergy Appreciation cards in 2002. Along with other retailers, they continue to offer a variety of cards and gifts to help people express their gratitude during this month.
This month is an opportunity to honor all pastors, priests, reverends, ministers, and other clergy members.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the estimated number of employed clergy in the U.S. is 53,140.
Brainstorm a list of people you know serving in ministry. Of course, there’s your local pastor. But maybe you also know a missionary or pastor sitting outside the spotlight. These church leaders may not get a lot of attention, but deserve recognition. They are working hard and pouring out their lives for others.
5 Reasons You Should Celebrate Pastor Appreciation Month
In practice, we should always be showing love and expressing thanks for the important people in our life. But we all have busy lives, and it’s easy to forget.
Similar to Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day, the purpose of observances like Pastor Appreciation Day isn’t to honor special people in our lives ONLY at these specific times. Instead, it serves as a welcome reminder to take some extra steps and plan ahead to make it special.
Here are 5 reasons why you should celebrate Clergy Appreciation Month:
1. Your Pastor Works Hard
Pastoring is not an easy job! Your pastor works long hours, often behind the scenes. Preparing a sermon requires lots of work, and that’s not all they do. They’re also responsible for leading, administration, and pastoral care responsibilities.
In addition, the schedule is relentless. Your pastor is responsible for services 52 weekends a year. And that’s not counting mid-week services, holidays, and other special events.
Also, a pastor is one of the first people called in times of emergency. And you can never predict when accidents, hospitalizations, or tragic events will occur, whether it’s the middle of the night or while your pastor is on vacation.
Although people like to joke that preachers only work one day a week, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
2. Your Pastor Deals with Tough Stuff
Pastors have to deal with difficult and often tragic situations. In any given week, they might hear about someone getting a terminal cancer diagnosis, a marriage on the brink of divorce because of adultery, or an untimely death.
Although pastors know that dealing with these issues is part of their job, it doesn’t make it easy. It’s not uncommon for this to become a challenge for their mental and emotional health over time.
And there are other issues that can cause stress to their emotional and spiritual well being. When you work with people, things inevitably get messy! Pastors must regularly deal with gossip, conflict, and difficult relational dynamics within the church.
It’s not always easy being the person everyone comes to with their problems and complaints. That’s what makes Pastor Appreciation Day so important.
And yet, they continue to show up week after week because they know that God has called them to ministry.
3. Your Pastor Needs Encouragement
Pastors are often seen as being strong and capable of handling any situation that comes their way. But they’re only human.
They need support, words of affirmation, and encouragement just like everyone else. In fact, because of the unique challenges they face, pastors often need it more than most.
You can’t please everyone all the time. However, pastors are faced with serving a wide variety of personalities. All these people have different standards and opinions regarding preaching, leadership, and ministry care.
Faith leaders must also address complicated social, political, and cultural issues. And with today’s technology and social media, they are under the spotlight and scrutinized for everything they say and do.
It’s a ton of pressure.
Suffice it to say that your pastor desperately needs to hear “well done” and other words of encouragement. You can support them with prayers, notes, and more – especially during National Clergy Appreciation Month.
4. Your Pastor Needs Rest
Based on all we’ve mentioned above, your pastor needs regular time off to rest and recharge. Unfortunately, most pastors don’t get enough vacation time, and Sunday is always coming!
Most pastors feel like they’re always on call. They might feel guilty taking a day off, even when desperately needing it.
But the truth is, your pastor needs regular time away from work to prevent burnout. They need time to relax, enjoy hobbies and interests outside of the church, and connect with family and friends.
Pastor Appreciation Month is the perfect time to rally around your pastor and their family to give them a much-needed break. You can provide meals, do chores or errands, or provide them with a vacation or getaway.
By helping your pastor rest, you’re also helping to prevent burnout. And that’s something we can all get behind.
5. Your Pastor Deserves Honor
We’re not trying to guilt you into celebrating Pastor Appreciation Day…but the Bible is very clear about honoring our leaders.
And that includes our pastors!
When we take the time to celebrate Pastor Appreciation Month, we are acknowledging them for their service. We are saying “thank you” for all they do to shepherd us and lead us closer to Jesus.
It’s a way of showing our appreciation for their dedication, hard work, and sacrificial love.
To add to this point, here are some Bible verses that speak to both those who honor and what the Bible says to encourage.
Bible Verses for Pastor Appreciation Day
What does the Bible say about honoring our pastors and clergy members? It’s clear that we’re meant to show them honor, respect, and love.
Now we’re not talking about putting up with abuse, corruption, or dictatorships. While no pastor is perfect, the vast majority have the best of intentions and love people. So, there are many verses that encourage us to respect, submit to, and follow our spiritual leaders.
Here are a few examples:
- “Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13
- “The elders who are good leaders are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says: Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain, and the worker is worthy of his wage” – 1 Timothy 5:17-18)
- “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.” – Hebrews 13:17
10 Verses to Encourage Your Pastor During Pastor Appreciation Day
As you pray for your pastor and write notes of encouragement, consider using these scriptures and others.
- “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” – Deuteronomy 31:8
- “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
- “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!” – 1 Chronicles 16:11
- “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” – Isaiah 40:31
- “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who brings good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.'” – Isaiah 52:7
- “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” -Proverbs 3:5-6
- “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:29-30
- “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13
- “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:10
- “We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers” – 1 Thessalonians 1:2
6 Ideas to Celebrate Your Pastor on Pastor Appreciation Day
Every pastor is different, so consider their particular likes, hobbies, and personality type when deciding what to do for them.
Here are a few ideas for Pastor Appreciation Month to help you start brainstorming how to show some love.
1. Plan a Special Service or Event in their Honor
Planning a special service or event to honor your pastor on Pastor Appreciation Day is a wonderful way to show your gratitude and support. Here are some tips to help you plan a meaningful and memorable celebration.
First, you’ll want to choose a suitable date for the event. Typically, Pastor Appreciation Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in October, but you can choose a date that works best for your congregation.
Secondly, you should form a dedicated team of volunteers to help with the planning and execution of the event. Assign specific responsibilities to committee members, such as invitations, decorations, and program coordination.
You also need to determine the budget for the event. Consider how much your congregation is willing to contribute and what expenses will be involved, such as catering, decorations, and gifts. You can even take a special offering for the purpose of this event during a prior service.
Next, select a location for the event. It could be at your church, a local banquet hall, or even a picnic in a park, depending on your budget and the size of your congregation.
Plan the Program
You’ll need to develop a program for the event. Here is an example program:
- Worship Service: Start the event with a special worship service to give your pastor appreciation. Include favorite hymns, prayers, and scripture readings.
- Testimonials: Invite church members to share personal stories and words of appreciation.
- Sermon: Ask your pastor if they’d like to give a special sermon or message, or invite a guest speaker.
- Musical Performances: Incorporate music into the program, such as a choir performance or special musical numbers.
- Video Messages: Collect video messages from members who may not be able to attend in person.
As a final note, you could arrange for a photographer or videographer to capture the event’s highlights so that you can create a memory book or video montage.
2. Give Them a Meaningful Gift
Giving your pastor a thoughtful gift on Pastor Appreciation Day is a great way to show your gratitude for their spiritual leadership and dedication. Here are some tips to help you choose and present a meaningful gift to show your pastor appreciation.
When getting them a gift, you’ll want to take into account your pastor’s interests, hobbies, and personal preferences when selecting a gift. A gift that aligns with their likes and values will be more meaningful.
If possible, gather input from the congregation or other clergy members to choose a collective gift that represents the appreciation of the entire church community. This can be a larger and more impactful gesture.
Choosing a Gift
Make sure to choose a gift that your pastor can use or enjoy in their daily life. Practical gifts, such as a new Bible, study materials, or a gift card, are often appreciated. Books that inspire, educate, or provide spiritual guidance can be excellent gifts for pastors. Choose books that align with your pastor’s interests and beliefs.
A gift card to a favorite restaurant, bookstore, or online retailer can give your pastor the flexibility to choose something they truly desire.
In lieu of a physical gift, make a donation to a charity or cause that your pastor supports. This demonstrates your commitment to their values.
Pastoral duties can be demanding, so consider offering your pastor some time off or a weekend getaway to rest and recharge.
3. Present Them with a Certificate/Award
Presenting your pastor with a plaque, certificate, or another award on Pastor Appreciation Day is a meaningful way to honor their service and dedication. Here are some tips on how to do it effectively.
You’ll want to start planning the award presentation well in advance of Pastor Appreciation Day to ensure everything is ready and organized.
Select an appropriate award, such as a plaque, certificate, or trophy, that reflects the significance of the occasion. Make sure it is well-crafted and looks professional.
Include your pastor’s name, the date, and a meaningful inscription or message that expresses your congregation’s appreciation and gratitude. Highlight specific qualities or accomplishments that you admire.
You’ll want to choose well-spoken and respected clergy members to present the award. This person should be able to articulate the congregation’s appreciation and admiration for your pastor.
Arrange for a photographer or videographer to document the award presentation, so you can create a lasting memory of the occasion.
After the presentation, encourage your pastor to display the award prominently in their office or at home as a constant reminder of your congregation’s appreciation.
4. Take Them Out for Lunch/Coffee
Taking your pastor out for lunch or coffee on Pastor Appreciation Day is a wonderful way to show your gratitude and spend some quality time together. Here are some tips to make the outing special and meaningful
Select a time that works well for both you and your pastor. Consider their availability and any other commitments they may have that day.
Choose a restaurant or coffee shop that your pastor enjoys or has mentioned wanting to try. If you’re not sure about their preferences, ask for recommendations or consider a place that offers a quiet and comfortable atmosphere for conversation.
As a gesture of appreciation, you can offer to pay for the meal or coffee. If you’re inviting others to join, consider sharing the cost among the group or arranging for individual bills.
Along with the meal, you may also present your pastor with a heartfelt thank-you card expressing your appreciation and gratitude for their service and leadership.
During the Outing
Throughout the meetup, make sure to be attentive and listen to your pastor. Let them share their thoughts, experiences, and any challenges they may be facing. Your willingness to listen can be a meaningful gift in itself.
Be mindful of your pastor’s time constraints. If they have other commitments, make sure the outing doesn’t run longer than they can spare.
While the occasion is special, keep the atmosphere relaxed and casual. Avoid discussing sensitive or controversial topics that may create tension.
5. Have the Children in the Church Make Cards/Gifts
Involving children from the church in making cards and gifts for Pastor Appreciation Day is a wonderful way to show your pastor appreciation. Here are some tips to make this activity both meaningful and enjoyable for the children.
Consider the ages and abilities of the children when choosing craft projects. Simple crafts like making cards, decorating bookmarks, or creating handprints or fingerprints on a canvas can work well for younger children. Older children may be able to handle more intricate projects.
You’ll want to collect all the necessary craft supplies in advance. Depending on the chosen crafts, this may include paper, markers, colored pencils, glue, scissors, stickers, craft sticks, and any other materials required.
Creating the Cards
Consider having a theme or a specific message that the children can incorporate into their cards or gifts. For example, you could focus on the idea of “Thank You” or “Pastor, You’re a Blessing.”
If appropriate, encourage the children to include Bible verses or inspirational quotes in their cards or gifts. This can add a spiritual dimension to show your pastor appreciation.
Make sure to have adult volunteers or parents available to supervise and assist the children as needed, especially with safety considerations and more complex craft projects.
6. Offer to Provide Cleaning or Yard Service for Their Family
Offering to provide housecleaning or yard service for your pastor’s family on Pastor Appreciation Day is a thoughtful and practical way to show your appreciation for their dedication to the church. Here are some tips to make this gesture meaningful and well-received:
If possible, gather a team of volunteers from the congregation to assist with the housecleaning or yard service. This not only lightens the workload but also makes it a collective effort.
Ensure you have all the necessary cleaning supplies, tools, and equipment for the task. If you’re working in the yard, gather the required gardening tools and equipment as well.
While offering to clean or maintain their home, respect the pastor’s privacy and personal belongings. Avoid touching or moving items unless explicitly instructed.
Ensure the safety of volunteers by providing guidelines for any potentially hazardous tasks, such as ladder use or heavy lifting. Safety should be a top priority.
If appropriate, involve the pastor’s family in the process. They may want to participate or simply appreciate being part of the effort.
Finally, you should create a pleasant atmosphere by playing uplifting music and providing refreshments for volunteers. It can make the work more enjoyable and create a sense of camaraderie.
Celebrating Clergy Appreciation Month
Clery or Pastor Appreciation Month is a great time to show your pastor how much you care. By expressing your gratitude and appreciation, you can let them know that their hard work and dedication do not go unnoticed.
This is also an opportunity to encourage them in their faith and let them know that they are making a difference in your life and the lives of others. Use this month as a way to build up your pastor and show them the impact that they have made in your life.
What other ideas do you have for honoring your pastor? Please feel free to share them in the comments below.
Pastor Appreciation Month, also known as Clergy Appreciation Month, is celebrated every October to recognize and honor the contributions and dedication of pastors and clergy members. It’s a time for congregations to express gratitude and show love to their spiritual leaders.
Pastor Appreciation Day, a part of the broader Pastor Appreciation Month, is specifically observed on the second Sunday of October. It’s a special day set aside to celebrate and honor individual pastors.
There are numerous ways to participate in Clergy Appreciation Day. From sending a heartfelt note, gifting a book, organizing a special event, or simply offering a prayer, the key is to make your pastor feel valued and appreciated.
Pastors and clergy members play a pivotal role in the spiritual and emotional well-being of their congregations. Recognizing them during Pastor Appreciation Month is a way to acknowledge their hard work, dedication, and the positive impact they make in the lives of many.
While there isn’t a fixed theme for Pastor Appreciation Month, many congregations choose scriptures that speak of love, gratitude, and service to guide their celebrations. Verses like 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 and Hebrews 13:17 are often cited during this time.