During the months of October, November, and December, church members shower their pastors with love, appreciation, and gifts. But once January hits, all that thoughtfulness disappears. While not intentional, this can make pastors feel unappreciated.
As a pastors’ wife, I have had the blessing of receiving all types of gifts from church members. While all of the gifts were appreciated, the ones we loved the most were those that met a real need in our lives. Here are 10 ways you can bless your pastor all year round:
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1. Take him out to lunch.
Pastors often have to go out to eat if they are training leaders or holding staff meetings. This can certainly take a hit on a pastor’s wallet. So invite your pastor to lunch and treat him. He could use a break and it is a blessing to invite him to lunch for the sole purpose of getting to know him. This will bless him greatly as pastors spend the majority of their time giving to others, and not receiving much true fellowship or friendship in return.
2. Pay a bill
For many pastors, they spend their lives training leaders, caring for others, and casting vision for churches. Secretly, however, they are underpaid for what they do, causing financial stresses behind closed doors. If you can, find out from his family what bills they currently have. Identify a bill that is causing them stress and pay it anonymously.
Imagine the joy of being able to relieve someone’s financial burdens. If Scripture says, “let no debt remain outstanding except that which to love one another,” (Romans 13:8) what better way to demonstrate God’s love than to loosen a financial noose from your pastor’s neck. This way your pastor can concentrate on completing the Kingdom work he is called to do.
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3. Start a tab.
In a former church, my husband had an anonymous donor who paid a local coffee shop a certain amount of money toward coffee since he or she knew my husband did his sermon writing there. Every time he would walk in, the barista would hand him a free coffee, just the way he liked it. This donor kept track of when he was low and would refill the amount as necessary, so my husband never had to pay for his favorite beverage. What a blessing!
If your pastor frequents Starbucks or is on a first name basis with the workers at Panera Bread, you may have discovered a way to sincerely bless your pastor by surprising him with a free beverage. This also helps him to get to know people in the community and invite them to His church. It can be a double blessing—bless your pastors with a free hot drink and pave the way for salvation for those whom he may get to know while he occupies a seat.
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4. Write a note.
In this computer-driven world, it is rare anyone receives a handwritten note anymore. If you would love to get a handwritten note in the mail, take initiative and bless your pastor with telling him how much he means to you. Write down the ways he blesses you simply by leading your congregation. If you meet with him regularly, write about what you have learned from him or how you have grown spiritually as a result of his leadership. I would wager a guess that note will either be framed or pinned in a prominent place so when the pastor feels discouraged, he can use your words to remind him why he is in the ministry in the first place.
You can also go one step further and vow to write one encouraging note a month. It can be about what you are learning in the Word, what one nugget of truth you gleaned from his sermon, or a song that is ruminating in your heart.
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5. Give a gift card.
I know it sounds cliché, but gift cards are special because they are a treat, especially if your pastor has a specific place he likes to shop or eat. Furthermore, you could give a gift certificate to an experience—a play, concert, or other special show. It would be a nice night out for the pastor and would also bless his wife whom he may ask to accompany him. It’s a gift that not only shows the pastor appreciation, but strengthens his marriage too.
6. Make something homemade
Do you like to bake? Does your pastor harbor a sweet tooth he can’t seem to curb? Make him your signature dish or dessert. It is something easy to do, it showcases your talent, and gives he and his family a night off from cooking. You can drop it off at the church or at his home, given you schedule it ahead of time.
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7. Pay for his groceries.
For many families, groceries are one of the biggest weekly bills in the household. Feeding hungry kids is not an easy task and with soaring food costs, it becomes increasingly difficult. Lighten the load of this burden by giving the pastor a gift card for the family’s favorite grocery store. This takes one worrisome bill off the pastor’s plate.
8. Show up to a sports event.
Does the pastor have children that participate in sports? It means a lot to the pastor to know his members don’t just want to take from him, but they want to show a general interest in who he is and what his family is doing. Show up to their child’s sporting event, sit next to him, and cheer for the child from the stands. It’s nice to know he has people who care and it will be a testimony to the pastor’s children that someone else besides mom and dad are wanting the best for them.
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9. Pay the bill at a restaurant.
If you get the privilege of eating out with your pastor, don’t be afraid to send the full check your way at the end of the meal. Similar to some of the suggestions above, it is a special treat to go out and not have to cook, but it can also be a great way to show the pastor that his leadership and assistance in your spiritual growth means more than he realizes.
10. Get there early.
Most pastors are the first to arrive at their church doors on Sunday. While this is a part of the job, it does take away from pastors assisting wives with getting children out the door on time. Offer to come early one Sunday to give him a week off from the mundane prep that needs to happen to make sure Sunday service runs successfully.
Turn on the lights and heat, turn on all sound equipment, and make sure slides and coffee are made and running before he gets there. Give him the gift of not having to worry about all the other aspects of ministry, but to allow him the time to just review his sermon, relax, and focus on what God has called him to do.
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11. Offer a vacation.
One year, while searching the internet for vacation sites, we came across a Christian ministry that focused on blessing pastors by offering them a place to stay in South Carolina. We booked it and went with anticipation. When we opened the doors of our rental, we were blown away by its beauty. We could never have afforded a place like that without the discount and were able to see the sights, go to the beach, and spend time together.
Most pastors can’t afford vacations or other luxuries other attendees can afford. If you have access to a vacation home, offer it to your pastor for free or at a large discount so he and his family can enjoy some much needed time together. It will create family memories while alleviating the worry of how they will pay for it.
You may love your pastor, but it is easy to get into the rut of only showing it during the holidays. Consider ways like the ones above to bless him the other months of the year and show him he is loved, appreciated, and has a place within your church’s fellowship.
Michelle S. Lazurek is an award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife and mother. Winner of the Golden Scroll Children's Book of the Year and the Enduring Light Silver Medal, she is a member of the Christian Author's Network and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. Her first book with Leafwood Publishers, An Invitation to the Table, came out September 2016. She also teaches at various writers' workshops, such as the Montrose Christian Writers conference. She and her husband live in Coudersport, Pennsylvania, with their two children, Caleb and Leah. For more information, please visit her website at michellelazurek.com.
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