Pastor Appreciation Month is upon us. While churches are encouraged to show appreciation for those that shepherd their souls throughout the year, October is designated as a specific month to show your pastor(s) some love. 

But this year is different. Given all the ways that pastors have shepherded their flocks during the past few months, these faithful servants are certainly worthy of double honor (1 Timothy 5:17). Bob Lowman (a fellow associational leader) recently commented, “Of all Octobers, this year, please make every effort to make Pastor Appreciation Month one your pastor will always remember with joy.” I could not agree more!

There are many ways that you can make this Pastor Appreciation month one he will always remember with joy. (Here are 15 ways to get you started.) However, there are also some ways that you may inadvertently make this year memorable for all the wrong reasons as well. Here are 5 missteps to avoid during this year’s Pastor Appreciation Month:

  1. Don’t be silent. The worst mistake your church can make is to remain silent. To say nothing. To do nothing. I have written more about this here, but just know that if you remain silent, what is meant to be an encouraging time for your pastor will likely become a discouraging time. Given the observation that many pastors are already on the verge of burnout, your silence could be devastating.
  2. Don’t host a reception. Because of COVID-19, there are many health concerns when it comes to hosting receptions or dinners in the church’s fellowship hall. For those reasons alone, a pastor appreciation reception is probably not the best way to show appreciation this year. In addition to the health concerns, it’s likely that the turnout would be lower than usual, which could also transform an event intended for encouragement into one of discouragement.
  3. Don’t forget about other pastoral staff. This one won’t apply to every church, but don’t forget the other pastors on staff. They may not have the responsibility to preach to the whole congregation each week, but they still function as pastors, and they have also worked hard to lead their church through the pandemic. If your church only expresses appreciation to the Senior Pastor, it could lead to discouragement for the other pastors on staff.
  4. Don’t forget about the pastor’s spouse. The typical pastor’s wife has been forced to sacrifice a great deal of time with her husband over the past few months as he has been busier than ever navigating all of the unique challenges of the pandemic. As you express appreciation for your pastor’s ministry to the church, don’t forget to also express appreciation for his wife’s ministry to her husband. Perhaps you could give her a gift card for a spa day or a date night with her husband.
  5. Don’t forget about the pastor’s children. Many pastors have received an urgent call that pulls them away from their child’s baseball game. Many have left their seat empty at the dining room table during dinner. Many have had to explain why Daddy has to go to another meeting at the church instead of staying home and playing with his preschooler. Being a pastor’s kid can be hard. So, as you brainstorm ways to express appreciation for your pastor, don’t forget about his children.

During this unique season, make sure you show your pastor(s) how much you appreciate them. As you do so, avoid making these 5 missteps, and you can make Pastor Appreciation Month 2020 memorable for all the right reasons!

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