Here are 11 ideas to celebrate your pastor, perfect for your small church – whether it’s Pastor Appreciation Day, a birthday, or any time of the year.

Whether you are in a church of 10 or 100, appreciating your pastor is easier than you think. There’s no reason to stress out or get overwhelmed searching the internet for dozens of ideas that won’t work in your small church.

These 11 ideas are perfect for any size congregation. Choose one or choose them all and scatter them throughout the month or all year long.

Why Celebrate Your Pastor?

Pastors have challenging jobs, and they are put in tough positions more than most people know. Many people in a congregation don’t realize the stress and pressures that pastors feel – in fact, some think your pastor only works one day a week!

Celebrating your pastor gives everyone an opportunity to share their love and thankfulness. It also can be the boost you pastor to press on and accept the next challenge. 

October is Pastor Appreciation Month!

While the second Sunday in October is recognized as Pastor Appreciation Day, you can celebrate your pastor on any holidays, birthdays, or all year long! Some congregations choose to celebrate for the full month of October, with different things happening each week.

Here’s a list of ideas for small churches that don’t

  • Require a huge budget
  • Need a lot of planning
  • Need a big congregation

Whether you choose one or more of the ideas below, be sure to take time to promote your ideas well. Getting the word out (maybe even secretly!) to your congregation members will increase participation and excitement!   

Budget-Friendly Ideas to Appreciate Your Pastor in a Small Church

1. Cards of Appreciation for Your Pastor

Instead of just encouraging people to send cards, make it super easy by giving everyone a head start and providing the cards and an instant way to deliver them.

Start early in the month for better results! Place an empty basket as well as small piles of cards and envelopes on a table in your church lobby. Packs of cards are fairly inexpensive. Dollar Stores sell them in packs of 6 or 8 for $1.

Encourage your congregation members to take a card, write a note of appreciation to your pastor, and then return it to the basket. On the last Sunday of the month, give your pastor the basket filled with the cards.

2. Prayer Calendar for Pastor & Family

Print out a 31-day calendar with no month listed (or draw one on a piece of posterboard). Ask congregation members to commit to praying for your pastor & family once a month, on a given date.

People put their initials on the date that they commit to praying for your pastor; they can choose more than one day if they want.  Present the calendar to your pastor, letting him know that your congregation cares about him and covers him in prayer.

(Hopefully, on each date you have at least one person praying.)

3. Pastor Survival Kit

Present this to your pastor during a church service. Put these items in a small box with the following explanations:

  1. Pack of lifesavers – for the times you were a lifesaver to me
  2. Gum – because you help everyone stick together
  3. Rubber door stop – because your door is always open to us
  4. Hershey kisses – to remind you that your church loves you
  5. Rubber band – because you challenge us to stretch and grow
  6. Puzzle piece – because you are an important piece of what God is doing at our church
  7. Cotton ball – to soften any rough times ahead

4. Throw a “Dinner for the Week Party” for Pastor Appreciation

Encourage congregation members to bring in a future meal for the pastor & family.

Ideas include restaurant gift cards, pre-made frozen meals, or a basket filled with everything needed to make the dinner (box of pasta, jar of sauce, cans of vegetables, box of Bisquick for biscuits, box of cookies, jar of applesauce).

5. Grow a “Gift Card Tree” for Your Pastor

Use either a small live tree or “plant” a stick with several branches in a bucket of sand and rocks. 

Ask congregation members to bring in gift cards of any denomination – even $5 coffee cards or hamburger cards. Clip them to the “tree” with mini binder clips or paper clips. 

Either keep this a secret or have it in your welcome area at church for people to add their gift cards. 

Allow for 2 or 3 weeks for people to bring in cards. Then present it to your pastor during the church service.  

Special note about gift-cards: Some people feel that a $5 gift card is of little value. Just let them know that if 4 people each bought a $5 gift card, that would be worth $20. A gift card of any amount is appreciated. 

6. Organize a Church Potluck Dinner or BBQ  to Celebrate Pastor Appreciation

Members should feel free to bring a card or gift, but not required.  

Clever Food Signs for a Pastor Appreciation Dinner:

  • Thank you for your “fruitful” leadership – fruit tray
  • We “Do-nut” know what you’d do without him – box of doughnuts
  • You make a “Mound” of difference in our church – Mounds candy bar
  • We want “S’more” of your good teachings – sandwich baggies with a small chocolate bar, marshmallows, and 2 graham crackers
  • Your “Commit-mint” to our church is appreciated” – bowl of mints
  • Thank you for helping us “grow” – make this a sign and put it in a plant

7. Host an Award Ceremony for Your Pastor

Give awards for the best smile, funniest joke, best sermon, snazziest dressed pastor, etc. ALL awards go to the pastor! Be creative and create an award for anything wonderful or great about your pastor. Make certificates, trophies, medals, or prizes to go with each category. 

8. Pastor Appreciation Coupon Book

As a youth group, men’s group or any other group, create coupons for a themed workday, like “outside workday at the pastor’s house” to do yard work, trim bushes, sweep the walk, etc.

9. Pastors Appreciation Hand-Made Cards

Hand-made cards from KidsChurch, Youth group, other ministries, or families in your church will always mean a great idea!

10. Pastors Favorite Basket

Create an All-About-You Basket filled with the pastor’s favorites: favorite candy, favorite cookies, favorite snacks, wall art of favorite Bible verse, something to support his hobbies (guitar picks, fishing lures, bookmarks, golf balls, etc.), a bag of his favorite brand of coffee, or gift cards to his favorite restaurant or coffee shop.

11. Fill the Mailbox Campaign

Schedule parishioners so that each day of the month at least one person mails a card to the pastor. Don’t limit the cards; if one family wants to send a card every week or a card each day, welcome the idea!

Do you have another idea that has worked well in your small church?

These are some of our favorite ideas. If you have other great ideas, leave your favorite ideas in the comments below – – maybe you’ll see them in a future post!  

Looking for Other Appreciation Ideas? Check out …

A Thank You Your Volunteers Will Appreciate

Reaching Moms At VBS (perfect for any outreach event)