The 5: Blessing your pastor during Pastor Appreciation Month

I love pastors. They bear the weighty burden of caring for our souls (Hebrews 13:17). On top of that burden is more than two-and-a-half years of COVID craziness that has made pastoral work even more complicated. With October being designated Pastor Appreciation Month, I offer these ideas to honor those who have remained faithful through it all:


Give him a “book tree” 

How you create “the tree” is up to you, but the leaves are all Amazon or Logos gift cards. Every pastor I know wants more books, and every one would like more funds to get them. If each of your church families gives $10 or $20, that gift would likely be substantial. If you want to delight your pastor in an unexpected way, give gift cards to his wife and children, too. None of them will forget that gesture. 


Give him an extra week of vacation in 2023

These past few years truly have been exhausting, and most pastors are still figuring out how to shepherd a post-COVID congregation. It takes many of us most of our vacation to unwind anyway, so your pastor might especially welcome an extra week next year. In fact, I encourage you to consider offering your pastor a one-month sabbatical next year if he has served faithfully for a number of years. 


Give him and his family a local gym membership

We want our pastors to be healthy and serve us for many years. Frankly, many pastors need to get more exercise—and perhaps they will be more diligent in self-care if our congregations give them this gift. If your pastor already has a personal membership (but not a family one), at least cover the cost of adding his family. Even better, do that, and cover the total cost for another year. 


Give him and his wife a trip to Israel

I still remember my first trip there as a teenager (a long time ago), and I recognize today that my Bible reading has never been the same since then. My wife traveled with me for the first time several years ago—because of the generosity of other believers—and she still talks about her experience there. If your pastor and his wife have been to Israel, think about sending them to the area of Paul’s journeys. 

Editor’s note: The SBTC will lead a “Walk in the Footsteps of Paul” trip in 2023. E-mail for more info.


Give him the gift of your greater
investment in the work of your church

As a shepherd myself, I would be most honored by a member who says to me, “Pastor, out of love for the Lord and gratitude for you, I want to be more faithful in serving through our church. How might I serve that most helps you or our ministries?” My guess is this gift will surprise—and bless—your pastor.

Chuck Lawless is dean of doctoral studies and vice president of spiritual formation and ministry centers at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. For more from Lawless, visit

Dean of Doctoral Studies, Vice President of Spiritual Formation and Ministry Centers
Chuck Lawless
Southeastern Seminary
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