October is Pastor Appreciation Month. But one month out of twelve is not enough to show appreciation to pastors. And here’s why.

According to a Forbes article published in 2014, being a pastor or other religious leader is one of the most stressful jobs. Expectations that are placed on clergy are higher than on other professionals. As a result, clergy tend to feel isolated and depressed.

In addition, clergy receive their share of “nastygrams.” These grams range from “The sermon was too long” to “Why would you wear that?!?” You would be surprised to hear some of the criticism clergy receive. And the criticism received leaves scars and emotional wounds, leaving many clergy in pain.

Here are four simple ways to show appreciation to your pastor throughout the year.

1. Say “Thank You.”

It sounds simple. But, making a habit of saying “Thank you” to your pastor goes a long way. There is so much that is done that no one ever knows about. So, for someone to say “thank you” on occasion for the things seen and unseen is an act of appreciation and encouragement.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

2. Write a Note.

In the midst of receiving all of those “nastygrams” it is nice to receive a handwritten note of appreciation. I had a mentor who kept a box in his office. Whenever he received a non-nastygram, he placed it in the box. After some time, he had quite a collection. And when the nastygrams became overwhelming, he would open his box of notes. He was reminded why he does what he does. A “Thank You” note goes a long way.

3. Don’t Complain. Offer to Help.

It is much easier to complain when things don’t seem to be going right. But instead of complaining to or about your pastor, take her to coffee and ask, “How can I help?” There may be a very simple act that would help your pastor. You become a blessing to her as well as an opportunity to be in ministry. And, by taking her to coffee, you are building a relationship with your pastor.

4. Pray.

Pray for your pastor on a regular basis. This work is holy work, and stressful work. I still remember a church member asking me one day how she could pray for me. She told me that every Thursday she prayed for the clergy and staff at the church. I took comfort in knowing that someone was praying for me on a regular basis. If you are praying for your pastor, send them a note that says, “I prayed for you this week.”

These are just four ways to show appreciation. What are some other ways?