Bat Appreciation Month, Caffeine Addiction Recovery Month, Home Eye Safety Month, National Caramel Month, National Sarcastic Awareness Month, and Vegetarian Month are among the items that showed up when I googled “October Monthly Observances.” There are, in fact, over 100 October observances!

There was one missing from their list, though: Pastor Appreciation Month. Whoever made up that list forgot, but I hope we remember.

Why? It’s simple, really. Your pastor is called and gifted by God, his or her ministry has been recognized by the church at large, and pastors are placed in your church to minister to your spiritual needs. Most pastors I know do their work with their full heart and with all their energy and dedication. It’s wonderful work in so many ways, and they throw themselves into it almost with abandon.

Pastors are invited to be part of the most significant moments in their members’ lives: baby dedications, graduations, birthday celebrations and anniversaries. We also want them around when a loved one is ill or near death. And, of course, their hearts and souls thrill when someone decides to give their heart to Jesus and get baptized.

All these opportunities to be a meaningful part of your life are joys and privileges to your pastor. They live for those moments. Pastors truly feel as Paul did toward his friends in Thessalonica: “After all, what gives us hope and joy, and what will be our proud reward and crown as we stand before our Lord Jesus when he returns? It is you! Yes, you are our pride and joy” (1 Thess. 2.19-20).

A worthy investment

Along with their investment in you, however, comes the inevitable taxing of their time, energy and resources that are part of making themselves so available to you. October is a time you can simply acknowledge their willingness to invest in you, your family and your church. Yes, they get paid for what they do (arguably never quite enough), but they do it for other rewards. One of the richest is to know that their investment really matters and that it’s appreciated.

I would suggest that expressing your appreciation to your pastor for his or her contribution to your spiritual journey is a worthy investment for the body of Christ. Paul said it this way in Rom. 12:10: “Love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another showing honor.”

And please remember to include your pastor’s spouse and family as well. Their contribution to your pastor’s ability to invest in you too often goes unnoticed and unappreciated. Their contribution is real, and often costly.

A good return

I spoke earlier of this as a worthy investment. Of course, you want a good return on your investment, so what return might there be in an investment such as this?

  • Being thankful and expressing it to others is good for our health and happiness. It also helps us build trust and closer bonds with the people around us.
  • Praising or appreciating someone indicates that you have recognized their effort, which may encourage them to go the extra mile.

So, what can you do during Pastor Appreciation Month? Just think about what makes you feel appreciated. Then act on that thought and you’ll come up with something that represents you and will encourage your pastor. This is an easy investment because they already love you. If you just love them in return, there will be no limit to what pastor and parishioner can do together in the cause of Christ.

When it comes to expressing affirmation and appreciation, we should never rely on the assumption that the ones we appreciate know it. Sometimes, we just need to say it! And the truth is we all need to hear it – even pastors.