Your pastor anniversary is an important milestone that should be celebrated! It’s a time to reflect on the beginning of a pastor’s career and honor them for their years of dedication and sacrifice. Your leaders are entrusted to watch over so many people – the congregation, small groups, and their own families. This can be an overwhelming task and not one that many are capable of. A pastor is someone who is blessed to maintain a busy lifestyle and the responsibility of leading people to know the Lord Jesus Christ.
So how do we show our appreciation for our pastors? They will have a pastor anniversary of when they began preaching or first started at their church. This is a day of celebration and reflection!
Leaders tend to serve whether it is within their ministry or outside of the church walls, they love to serve and meet the needs of others. Whether it be time, money, meals, or encouragement, leaders love to lend a hand. It is important to notice everything that your Pastor does for the congregation but what most people don’t realize is that they are not given back to often.
Let’s take a look at some ideas and scriptures we can implement to honor our pastor’s on their anniversary! And if you’re looking for ideas for welcome gifts for new guests, check out our list here.
Estimated reading time: 11 minutes
Table of contents
4 Ideas to Celebrate
You know your pastor better than anyone, therefore you know how they’d most like to celebrate their upcoming anniversary. Of course, a surprise is always nice when everyone can keep it a secret! There are a few different ways you can honor your pastor’s anniversary such as with a gift, a cake, a tribute video, or by hosting an interview.
Present with a gift
Oftentimes, pastors give and give and get little in return. Not that they ask for much! It can be great for the congregation or staff to present their pastor with a special gift. We’ll mention gift ideas below more in depth. But a few of those ideas we’ll mention now are anniversary plaques, a quality Bible or journal, a vacation or even a monetary gift.
Bring out a cake
Make a moment out of it! Bring out a special cake or treat for your pastor and have fun with it. Cakes are usually reserved for birthdays or anniversaries as a symbol of marking a passage of time. Have fellow staff members or special volunteers present the cake to your pastor on stage to celebrate.
Show a tribute video
This idea will likely take a bit of time to organize and put together. Film a special thank you video for your pastor. Include videos with friends, other pastors and family thanking them for their years of hard work and dedication. This is a touching moment as the pastor can take time to realize the impact he or she has had on others.
Host an interview
A unique idea to honor a pastor anniversary is by spending time during the service interviewing your pastor. Set up a couple of chairs and have a casual conversation during a Sunday service. Come prepared with questions to ask such as when they were first saved, or when they knew they wanted to preach. This can be information a lot of the congregation may not even know and can be nice for your pastor to revisit.
Gifts to Honor
You can include a letter or a card either before or after you make a small anniversary speech. When you’re deciding on a gift, keep your pastor’s personality, hobbies, and other information in mind. If your pastor is allergic to flowers, you wouldn’t want to give them a bouquet and have them sneezing. A pastor who enjoys fishing or golf might like equipment related to those activities. Or a pastor who loves to read might love new books or gift cards.
Expensive gifts are not necessary. They are nice to receive and certainly will be accepted. But it’s not so much about the cost of a gift as it is the meaning behind it. When a gift is thoughtful and special to the pastor it will mean so much more than any monetary value.
Money is a fine gift…it can allow the pastor and his family a chance to purchase whatever they need. But this comes with it’s own challenges. When a pastor receives cash they often feel obligated to spend it on things their family needs. Giving money is perfectly acceptable, but perhaps include a note suggesting they use it for something other than necessities.
Group gifts as well as gifts from individuals are both important. A group gift allows the church to do something elaborate, even extravagant. But individual gifts put names and faces to the display of appreciation…it helps show that YOU are grateful for your pastor.
A great sculpture to celebrate and honor your pastor is this sculpture from Christian Book. A beautiful depiction of Jesus washing the feet of a servant. As a pastor, you spend a lot of time taking care of the needs of others and putting them before yourselves just as Christ did.
A leather journal such as this Ox and Pine edition is a great gift. It can be personalized with their initials and has a few different leather colors to choose from. You’ll also be able to choose from lined or unlined paper.
Year Marker Plaque
A year marker plaque is a very special gift and one that is very personal. You’ll be able to customize everything including how many years your pastor has served.
- Hand-made Crystal with Substantial Weight
- Fully Customizable with Your Own Words/Logo
- Professional Mockups for Review & Approval
- FREE Engraving with no Character Limits
For other shapes and designs, check out Crystal Central.
The Jesus Bible
Along with a leather journal, a Bible can be a great gift idea. Of course, your pastor will most likely have a ton of Bibles in their collection so perhaps pair this with another gift. This Jesus Bible edition is a stunning and beautiful Bible that your pastor may not splurge on themselves.
Encourage Your Pastor
Another gift you might not think is one is to encourage your pastor each and every Sunday. A congregation that is active, participates in the message and speaks highly of their pastor is a great one!
BE AN ACTIVE LISTENER
No matter if you sit on the back row or the front row, being an active listener is extremely important. It helps to encourage everyone around you to listen closely as well. Encourage your pastor with an active demeanor, note-taking, and the occasional nod of understanding. They have spent hours getting ready for the teaching event; encourage them by being an active listener.
BE AN ENERGETIC PARTICIPANT
Getting involved in church is more than just a Sunday morning thing. Find ways to get involved in the church beyond mere attendance. The church needs volunteer participants like you in order to function. A typical church reports that 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people. Get involved and encourage your pastor by cheerfully sharing the load of the ministry. A pastor can’t possibly interact with every member of the congregation so this is where you come in to make sure no one is left behind.
SPEAK HIGHLY OF YOUR PASTOR
Pastors often face a barrage of criticism. Immediately after the service, guests often leave to their homes or restaurants to criticize the sermon they just heard. Be an outspoken defender of your pastor. Scripture prohibits unkind speech, let alone unkind speech directed at pastors. For that reason, be vigilant to defend your pastor. Squelch criticism and never be guilty of dishing it out yourself. Speak highly of the pastor before your family, before others in your church, and before your pastor and their family.
PRAY FOR YOUR PASTOR AND WITH YOUR PASTOR
Prayer is massive. Pray for your pastor daily, in your own quiet time. And pray for your pastor as the service begins. Pray for them as they enter the pulpit to teach. Beyond private prayer, start a prayer time with others in the church for the specific purpose of praying for your pastor. You may also want to ask your pastor if they want to pray with anyone. Pastors may not be in the habit of praying with the people in their congregation, but if your pastor is able to do so, this time of prayer with your pastor can be a very encouraging time for them.
Scripture for Pastors
Check out these Bible verses to find the perfect words to say about your pastor on their anniversary. For years they have dedicated their time to serving the Lord and his people. The Bible has much to say about those in higher positions that lead us to Christ.
Thessalonians 5: 12–13
“And now, friends, we ask you to honor those leaders, who work so hard for you, who have been given the responsibility of urging and guiding you along in your obedience. Overwhelm them with appreciation and love”
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? How can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? Then how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.
And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.
If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.
His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
1 Peter 4:10-11
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
As you can see a pastor’s anniversary is a very special event! It’s a time to celebrate and bestow honor upon the pastor. Once we show the pastor appreciation, it can raise their spirits. It’s a hard job and they face a lot of challenges and responsibility. Honoring them with a gift or words of encouragement go a long way.
Hopefully, you’ve been inspired by any of these celebration ideas and can begin planning how you want to honor your pastor’s anniversary!