We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. – 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13
October is Pastor Appreciation Month. It is a great time to go above and beyond to make sure that your pastor is blessed and loved by the church. Below are some Texas Baptists resources and ideas from staff members about how you can take care of your pastor, both during this month and beyond.
Make time for personal growth
Pastors often spend time teaching others, not being taught, so providing an opportunity for pastors to be poured into, rather than standing in front of the crowd, can be a welcomed break and is a great way to show your appreciation for them. This month, encourage your pastor to aside time to attend a training or conference where he or she can be poured into.
Texas Baptists offers a variety of events that pastors could consider attending. The biggest event is the Texas Baptists Annual Meeting. Here, your pastor can be poured into by several workshop speakers and fellowship with other Texas Baptists pastors, ministers and laypersons. To learn more about this event, click here.
Several other conferences take place around the year and target specific ministries. To learn about what Texas Baptists has to offer, visit our events calendar or subscribe to our newsletters for regular updates.
Provide financial blessings
This topic is not always something pastors feel comfortable talking about, but many can struggle to make ends meet and save ahead for the future. Making sure that your pastor is financially secure both today and in the future is a great way to show that you support his or her ministry.
If your pastor needs financial assistance, a Texas Baptists Ministers Financial Health Grant could be a huge help. Texas Baptists provides up to $2,500 in matching grants for pastors. This money can be used to help the pastor pay student loans and credit card debt or increase emergency and retirement savings. Raising the matching funds as a congregation can be a great way to show the pastor that you appreciate his or her service to your church. The pastor will need to attend a financial seminar with a lay-leader of the church, providing another great opportunity for members of the church to step up and give back to the pastor. To learn more about the grants and loans programs and to access online financial literacy resources, click here.
Another great way to provide for your pastor financially is to ensure they are secure in the future and in case of emergencies. The Texas Baptists Church Matching and Protection Benefit Program can help your church ensure that pastors and their families are well looked after. The program offers disability insurance and survivor protection benefits, as well as offering matching funds for your pastor’s retirement plan. Read more about the program and its requirements here.
Though they may not be glamorous, providing for a pastor’s financial needs can alleviate a lot of stress from life and greatly impact the pastor’s ability to minister effectively.
Support emotional health
Consider the emotional health of your pastor as well. Pastors wear many different hats—preaching, teaching, pastoral care, and leadership—and they are often on call all hours of the day. It is easy for them to become tired or worn out when they are not given time to rest.
Katie Swafford, director of Texas Baptists Counseling Services, suggests inviting your pastor to an “off-duty” meal or activity where he or she can have time to relax.
“A lot of time people don’t see their pastor as a regular person with regular interests,” she explained. “Invite them to go fishing or golfing or to see a baseball game—places for them to have fun.”
Even something as small as a note of appreciation can mean the world to pastors as they care for the church. Another fun idea is to provide a relaxing evening for your pastor. Consider giving your pastor a date night by offering to watch the kids and providing gift cards for dinner and a movie. Little things can have huge effects on ensuring that pastors are healthy and well-rested.
Your church could also look into Baptist encampments where pastors and their families can retreat and relax. Consider gifting your pastor time off at a Baptist encampment during Pastors Appreciation Month.
If you are looking for more ways to meet your pastor’s needs, Swafford suggests reading Pastors are People Too by Jimmy Dodd and Larry Magnuson. Pastors are often reluctant to admit they are struggling or have unmet needs, so doing some research and being proactive goes a long way in ensuring that your pastor is provided for and healthy.
If you have questions about providing for the emotional health of your pastor, contact katie.swafford[at]txb.org.
This article was originally published on Oct. 22, 2019. It was updated on Oct. 20, 2022.