Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you” (Heb. 13:17).

A pastor’s work is never finished. When he goes to bed Sunday evening, the last thoughts on his mind are the things that he will need to attend to the following week. Even on his days off, the pastor is never off. A simple trip to the hardware store usually leads to a ministry encounter or two.

October has become the month that many congregations say thank you to their pastors for the hard work and dedication they show their churches throughout the year. Does your church have anything planned for your pastor this year?

Looking closely at the passage in Heb. 13:17 which reads, “Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden…” leads me to offer a few suggestions to help church members support their pastors.

First, pray for your pastor, and let him know that you are praying for him. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the past nine months have been incredibly challenging for most pastors. They had to find new ways to comfort their congregations and learn new technologies to bring people together to worship.

Some churches had to suspend services, while others have been meeting virtually. For those that opened, worship services have had limited attendance. Pastors’ hearts have been heavy as they see their churches affected by the pandemic.

One pastor literally wept as he related the story of not being able to visit a church member at the hospital who was critically ill. To help your pastors experience joy in his work, let him know that you are praying for him.

Second, consider blessing the pastor and his family by providing them a celebratory dinner. Your church may decide to have a potluck or catered dinner brought to the pastor’s home. This is a great way for the pastor and his family to enjoy good food and feel appreciated at the same time.

When the pandemic is over, invite the pastor and his family over for dinner or take them to a restaurant. You might give him a gift card to his favorite place to eat and let him go at his leisure.

Third (this is my favorite), appreciate them all year long! October is a great time to show appreciation because it has been designated on the calendar. However, to really cause your pastor to feel immense joy in his work, have the church put together a plan to show their appreciation for him throughout the year. After all, showing support and love to your pastor every day is the best gift of all. As the verse says, “Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden . . .”

Do you know what happens when you show appreciation to your pastor? Your pastor will become a greater blessing to you. Heb. 13:17 implies that if we bring joy to a pastor then we will benefit from his ministry. Over the years, I have noticed that congregations who bless their pastor with encouragement and love are immensely blessed by the work of their pastor.

Perhaps it is God stirring the heart of the pastor, or perhaps the congregation’s heart is better prepared to receive the Word from their pastor. Maybe it’s both, but either way, time and time again, I have seen an enriched relationship between the church and the pastor when appreciation is demonstrated. Unquestionably, the way to be personally blessed is to love and encourage your pastor.