October is Pastor Appreciation Month. If there ever were a time in church life that these ministers of the Gospel could use some extra appreciation, it is now.

Pastors always have faced difficulties in carrying out their call and ministry assignments. Not only does the enemy of our souls present continual temptation and opposition, the tasks that every pastor is called on to carry out are multi-faceted and not easy.

To name a few: preaching the Word, caring for the flock, leading the church, serving those in need, being a Christlike example, doing the work of evangelism and discipleship. Yes, the job description of a pastor is wide-ranging.

The last two years have not made pastoral work any easier. In fact, a Lifeway Research poll from 2020—released during the pandemic—revealed “more than a quarter of pastors (27 percent) say they’re struggling with maintaining unity and dealing with conflict or complaints.” Add this all up, and we can see why this October, in particular, we need to encourage our pastors.

In his second letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul talks about the God of all Comfort. He says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God“ (2 Cor. 1:3-4).

Too often we think about receiving comfort, that we forget to give it. So how can we be a blessing this month and beyond? Consider these ideas:

• A Sunday School class could take up a collection and buy some gift cards or send notes of encouragement or offer to help with childcare or family needs.

• Children can make art or a thank-you notes for the pastor.

• Youth could help do yard work for the pastor.

• Any church member who likes to cook could prepare and deliver baked goods.

Some time ago, pastors were surveyed about what would mean the most. Listen to some of these responses. “I am always given a card with a financial gift on pastor appreciation. I am thankful for both forms of recognition, but most important to me is that they remember me and thank me for my service to the church.”

Another said, “A ‘younger me’ would need monetary affirmation, but the present ‘battle-worn me’ would just like sincere notes of encouragement.” One other said, “Speaking practically, receiving a getaway to a place of beautiful solitude with my family for a time of rest and reflection.”

These are just a few ideas. Oklahoma Baptists, this October (and beyond), together let’s each find ways to be a blessing—to comfort, encourage and appreciate—our pastors.

P.S. Allow me to take a moment here to say a heartfelt thank you to my pastor, Stephen Rummage, for the great ways you lead and serve. Also “thank you!” to every Oklahoma Baptist pastor out there! We love you and appreciate you more than words can express (Phil. 1:3).