3 min read It’s no secret that pastoral ministry has been uniquely challenging over the last few years. Barna reports that 38% of U.S. pastors have thought about quitting full-time ministry in the past year. This reality makes the need to show appreciation and honor during Pastor Appreciation Month all the more important. So what are some things you can do to show this appreciation? We have a few ideas for you: 1. Handwritten note In the digital age we live in, handwritten notes communicate a high level of thought and care. Spend a few minutes thinking of things you would like to encourage your pastor with. Be specific in your encouragement rather than offering general thoughts. Write these down on a card or in a letter and send it to your pastor. 2. Regularly pray for them The work of ministry is challenging and one of the most powerful things we can do is lift up our pastors/leaders and their families in prayer. Pray for their heart and soul. Pray for their family. Pray for their work to be fruitful. 3. Give gift card(s) Everyone has a restaurant or two that they enjoy and we all enjoy those places even more when we don’t have to pay! Find a restaurant or two that your pastor frequents and buy a gift card for them. 4. Offer a night out Ministry can bring a strain on the whole family. Marriages as well can face specific stress and difficulty. One of the challenges often for a pastor (if they are married) is finding time to get away with their spouse and unplug. If your pastor is married with kids, offer to either watch their kids or pay for their trusted sitter to watch them so they can enjoy a night out. Bonus points if you provide money to pay for the night’s activities as well! 5. Remind others to participate Most people are busy and have a lot going on. It’s easy to forget about Pastor Appreciation Month. Make it a point to remind others about it and encourage them to participate. You can even invite people to pool together resources in order to bless and encourage your pastor. 6. Make a memory book Life moves by quickly. The same is true in ministry. Pastor’s often move at a fast pace and look toward what’s ahead. Providing something that looks back and remembers the impact they’ve made would be a huge encouragement. You can use a tool like MixBook to compile photos and memories to present in a well-designed book. 7. Send them to a conference or retreat Reach out to church leadership or to other members and pool together resources to send your Pastor and their spouse to a conference or retreat. Make sure this is something that’s intended for rest and rejuvenation and also make sure all expenses are covered so they can simply go and be blessed. It’s easy to assume people feel encouraged, but often that’s not the case. Don’t let October end without taking action to communicate your gratitude for the work your pastor does. Shelby Systems has decades of experience helping churches encourage gratitude. For more creative ideas and suggestions, contact a Shelby Support Specialist today!