Clueless! That’s how many churches feel as they contemplate how to express gratitude to their cherished leaders for Minister Appreciation Day each October.
To the rescue! Diana Davis, author of Fresh Ideas: 1,000 Ways to Grow a Thriving and Energetic Church, offers her top ten suggestions.
10. Lots of letters - On Sunday before Pastor Appreciation Day, distribute stamped envelopes addressed to the pastor. An instruction note invites each church member to write and mail a personal note of encouragement and appreciation to the pastor this week.
9. Award T-Shirt - Special order a “Best Pastor in _______” t-shirt,cap, or plaque, and present it with flourish.
8. Original Art - Laminate bookmarks created by the children in your church, featuring their art and signatures. Allow kids to present the bookmarks to the pastor personally.
7. Church in a frame - Prepare a beautifully framed photo or painting of the church building. Even better: take a group photo of church members in front of the building. Use extra wide matting and ask every church member to sign the mat before adding glass.
6. Very merry commentary - Purchase a full set of Bible commentaries. Allow various groups, such as Bible classes, committees or church organizations, to present one book of the set, individually wrapped with their personal notes of appreciation on the inside pages. You may consider buying individual copies of the Holman Old Testament Commentary the 12-Volume boxed set of Holman New Testament Commentary.
5. PowerPoint Presentation - Create a PowerPoint presentation of slides of the pastor(s) in action as a minister during this past year. Choreograph it to music, such as “Thank You for Giving to the Lord.” Play it as a pre-service video.
4. Public Thanks - Take out a full-page ad in your local newspaper, featuring a photo of your pastor and a declaration of your church's love and appreciation. Even better: Add every member’s signature on the ad.
3. While You Were Out - Do a surprise office makeover, with the pastor's wife's input, of course. Hanover Baptist Church in Indiana surprised their pastor with a new home office while he was out of town, complete with paint, décor, furniture, and computer.
2. Million M&Ms - Think of one small thing your pastor enjoys--M&Ms, fishing lures, coffee, etc. Ask each member to bring that item on Sunday, i.e. one bag, any size, of M&Ms. Supply extras for guests or forgetful members.
1. Thirty days of Appreciation - Use an October calendar to schedule volunteers for a month-long schedule of surprise treats. Each day of the month, the pastor will receive a surprise token of appreciation from a church member, committee or group within the church. The tributes will vary widely—a balloon delivery, a shoe shine, an apple pie, a gift. After a whole month of pleasant surprises, won't your pastor feel appreciated? And won’t God be honored by your acts of love for his servant? Don’t forget to include a sincere note with specific reasons you appreciate the minister’s spiritual leadership, dedication, time and commitment.
Honor God by honoring His servants, with a thoughtful, personalized encouragement that fits your unique church and pastor.
[By Diana Davis]