Ten Ways Kids Can Show Appreciation to their Pastor(s)

pastor-appreciation2October is here and besides being the month of all things pumpkin spice, it is a month set aside for Pastor Appreciation. Although I work as a children’s pastor, this is not a plea for gifts or appreciation.  Instead, it’s just an quick help guide for parents or teachers to help practically model, lead, and teach kids to appreciate their pastors. As we teach our children to appreciate their pastors, we are teaching them to appreciate others in general, and a thankful, appreciative heart is honoring to God who placed these people in our lives.

As we teach children to appreciate their  pastors, we are teaching them to appreciate others in general.  A thankful, appreciative heart is honoring to God.

Here are 10 simple and mostly free ways kids can show appreciation to their pastors this month or any month:

  1. Tell them. Words go along way. Simply have your children tell the pastor they are thankful for him/her and why.
  2. Send or give them a card. It can be purchased or hand-made, but have your children write in it and address it (if you mail it). In doing so, you are also teaching your children the life skill of how to address and mail an envelope–a lost art.
  3. Bake something and deliver it personally. Is your child the next Bobby Flay? Then let them have at it, with your help, of course. Make something special and go with them to deliver it to your pastor. This is especially great if you know what he/she likes. Watch out for food allergies or dietary restrictions if you can. Nothing says lovin’ like something from the oven and personal delivery makes it, well, personal–even better!
  4. Draw a picture. I have a file folder and a binder filled with pictures from kids in our church. It makes my heart sing when they bring me their heart-felt art.
  5. Write a poem. Some children are the best at putting their feelings into words. If that describes your child, encourage them to use their words to bless the pastor.
  6. Make up a song, or sing a favorite song and video your child singing it and then send it to your pastor. A little girl from my church once was in my office singing about me while sitting in my chair. It was the most precious thing ever. It makes me smile even today.
  7. Do an act of service. Could your pastor use some help raking leaves, setting up something in the church or washing his car? Brainstorm with your children some things they  could do to show appreciation. (Get permission from the pastor first, though!)
  8. Find a super creative idea on Pinterest, but let your child do it. Honestly, Pinterest is filled with great ideas, just be sure you don’t take over for your children and rob them of the opportunity to learn to show appreciation on their own. You can do another pastor appreciation idea yourself. Pastors need lots of appreciation!
  9. Invite them over for dinner or dessert. Having people in your home is a lost art. It not only  helps nourish someone, but it also builds community and allows us to show hospitality–a Biblical mandate. Maybe neither you nor your pastor have time for a meal, but what about a dessert night or s’mores around the fire pit? Kids need to see that pastors are people, too, and time together as families can often help make that happen.
  10. Pray for them. Every day. And let them know you are doing so. Encourage your children to commit to pray, every day, and pray with them. Our pastors spend a lot of time in the trenches doing battle on our behalf. Teaching our children to pray for pastors teaches them to not just hear the word of God, but to do what it says.

Once you have looked the list over together, sit down with your family and decide if one of these ideas will work for you. Maybe this list is just the catalyst for another idea or maybe you already have an idea, and this is the reminder to put it into action. (James 1:22)

Then, set a completion date and commit to doing whatever it is you chose before that date. I know late is better than never, but on time teaches our children to be responsible! One of the main reasons people fail to feel appreciated isn’t that they aren’t appreciated, it’s that we just don’t get around to telling them they are.

One of the main reasons people fail to feel appreciated isn’t that they aren’t appreciated, it’s that we don’t get around to telling them they are.

I hope you and your children find great joy in showing appreciation and blessing to the pastor(s) in your life this fall.

“And now, friends, we ask you to honor those leaders who work so hard for you, who have been given the responsibility of urging and guiding you along in your obedience. Overwhelm them with appreciation and love”  I Thessalonians 5:12-13 (The Message).

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The Fine Art of Appreciation

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Recently my boss retired after 40 years of ministry in the same church. You don’t often see longevity like that any more, and I am so blessed to have worked with a man who taught me so much through his words, but even more through his life.

However, my life wasn’t the only one touched. We asked some of our children and students who attend the Christian school at our church to create artwork and write notes of appreciation.

Precious doesn’t begin to describe some of what they shared.

“So sorry that you are retiring. You were at the church for 40 years I think. What are you going to do in your free time? I’d probally go ice-skating or do gymnastics. You are the longest preacher I have known for like my whole life. We had some good times, but you’ll always be my favorite.”

“Were so sade your leaving.”

“I hope you have fun man.”

“Good luck in your future and now God is with you.”

“I’m sorry that your going to a different church. I hope you like it. Good Luk. I hope I’ll see you Sunday.”

“Good Luck. Congratulations for retirement. You were nice.”

“Thank you. Friend of God. Preacher of God.”

“Happy I love you.”

“Thanks for the encouraging words you give me. The sermons you preach at school are easy to understand, which helps me apply it to my life. I appreciate the smiles you give me. Hope your retirement is as good as can be. God Bless you, good luck.”

“We are very sad you are going into retirement. You were my favorite preacher and you always made me laugh. One of my favorite sermons was when you put on a wig and became Sampson. Thank you for making me a servant master. I really think you brought me closer to Christ Jesus in your sermons thank you very much.”

Children may not always understand everything. They may not get the grammar or the spelling right. They may not have the best penmanship, but my-oh-my what a great job they can do making someone feel loved and appreciated.

It’s a fine art, appreciation. One worthy of the short time it takes to jot down a note, draw a picture, make a call or yes, even send a text.

With Christmas beginning in October, (that’s a whole ‘nother blog post) be sure to take some time in November to allow your family to share together in the fine art of appreciation. You’ll be thankful you did.

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Being Thankful for Difficult People–Thankful Thursday

Let’s just say from the get-go that I DO NOT, repeat DO NOT, have this one down.

The small group I share in is currently studying ourselves a little Mary and Martha. Since I’m pretty sure someone will ask, I’ll go ahead and tell you that we are using the book, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World: Finding Intimacy with God in the Busyness of Life, by Joanna Weaver.

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This week as we were studying, we talked a lot about the cure for worry, part of which is thankfulness. And our friend, Missy, shared with us about a little thing she did a while back called “Count 1000 Gifts.” Basically, from a given list . . . for a month . . . you record . . . either by word or picture . . three things a day that you are thankful for. These three things are like little gifts given to us by God.

Little gifts that we may often overlook.

Little gifts that remind you of how blessed you are.

Little gifts like Day One: “Gifts tasted.” That’s pretty easy: chocolate, enchiladas, and a Snickers meal bar!

And Day Two: “Gifts flat.” Okay, I had to think about this one for a bit. So. . . cardstock, note cards, and those little make up removing baby wipes for your face that hotels give you sometimes! I love those!

Then came today. Day Three: Three Gifts Found in Difficult People. Ummmmmmmmm. Ohhhh Kayyyyy. Wellllllll. Yeah!

Here’s the thing. Like, here’s the thing about difficult people. They are people. Sometime they are me. Sometimes I don’t like to be reminded that I can be difficult. I have a couple of difficult people in my life right now–which isn’t always the case, and so, after at first being completely, like, I just want to skip this day go back to day one (I think there are left over enchiladas in the fridge and I KNOW there are brownies on the stove), I can’t.

I can’t skip today. You see, I have to be thankful for difficult people. In part, because God says so. In part, because I want to be a thankful person. In part, because I don’t want to lose joy. And in yet another part, because learning to be thankful for the gifts in difficult people helps to keep me from being a difficult person.

Then hopefully, when I am the difficult person, someone will choose to be thankful for the gifts in me. If for no other reason than I, like them, am God’s child.

So for today here are three “gifts” I am thankful for in difficult people.

Number 1–Difficult people open my eyes to people’s needs. I don’t even have to know their need, but it’s a pretty good assumption that when you are having a difficult person day–or week–or month–or life–something is going on, and I need to show a little compassion.

This, of course, leads to #2

Number 2–Difficult people help me to be a little more compassionate. (After I get done being really frustrated!) Again, if the difficult person helps me to learn to respond to them and to others with love rather than by myself being difficult, that really is a gift.

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Number 3–Difficult people remind me to pray. I don’t just mean for them, but just to pray. I am reminded to pray and to praise and to be really thankful for those people, things and situations in my life that aren’t difficult, but also for those things that are. The good and the bad combined shape me and mold me to take on the character of Christ and to grow in His love.

So I’m now looking forward to the rest of the month, the journey and the gifts that God will help me see that He has given me to help me be a gift to those around me!

I’d never heard of the “One Thousand Gifts”. Maybe you haven’t either. You can learn more about this adventure in thankfulness from Ann Voskamp, in her book, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.”

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