If you’re part of a church, your pastor probably has an important role in your life.
Did you know that October is Pastor Appreciation Month? Some churches plan celebrations to show their appreciation to their pastor(s), but if yours doesn’t you can still show your gratefulness by sending a note, giving a gift, taking him or her to lunch, etc.
I worked in a church for a short time, and for most of my life, I was very involved in church leadership. One of the things that amazed me was how many people thought their pastor worked 1 hour a week — delivering the sermon! Full-time pastors often put in about 80 hours a week. Many are available to their congregants 24/7. Often, they are not treated kindly, and they are usually underpaid. Being a pastor can be fulfilling, but also very discouraging work.
If you would like to show your appreciation in a letter, it can be very meaningful — and will probably be kept for years. You don’t have to be a great writer to do it. Here’s a simple format you might use:
1. Start by telling your pastor that you really appreciate them.
2. Then, list 3-5 ways that they influence you or contribute to your life on a regular basis. You don’t have to go into detail, just show that you’ve noticed some of their strong points. Maybe their sermons have been meaningful, or you’ve noticed their faithfulness in visiting sick congregants. Perhaps you’ve noticed that they always have a kind word for people who are hurting, or you’ve driven by the church and seen their car parked there late at night.
3. After that, go into detail about something they’ve done or said that has meant a lot to you personally and how it impacted you. This is going to be the most meaningful part of the letter and you will want to put the most time into it.
4. I like to end a note like this with Hebrews 6:10: “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” You might choose another verse that you think will be meaningful.
5. If you want to enclose something like a gift card to their favorite restaurant or an offer to babysit, that is always nice, and I’d encourage you to do so. But honestly, the letter is going to be the most meaningful.
I would suggest writing out what you want to say on some scratch paper, then copying it into a nice card. Seriously, they will probably keep it and bring it out occasionally to remind themselves that someone appreciates them and that their work is not in vain. Your letter will mean so much!