5 Ways to Show Appreciation

Appreciation Word Art

October is Minister Appreciation Month. Designating a month to show appreciate to church leadership is a great idea, but it is unfortunate if that’s the only time appreciation is shown. It’s sort of like telling your spouse you love them only on Valentine’s Day.

And really, showing appreciation extends well beyond leadership. Everyone likes to be appreciated. If you say you don’t need it, you’re wrong. Receiving appreciation fuels a fire that helps people continue through tough times and to be ever better in good.

Since October is Minister Appreciation month, let’s use the ministers in my church as a framework for discussing ways to show appreciation to anyone at anytime.

How to Show Appreciation

Showing appreciation effectively involves connecting with who a person is and how that person unique impacts your life. This list provides ways of thinking about appreciation that will hopefully trigger ideas for showing appreciation regularly.

1. Make a personal connection.

“Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him, and to let him know that you trust him.” ~ Booker T. Washington

Our Minister of Music also teaches choir at our Middle and High Schools. He’s a gifted vocal instructor for sure. Recently, he invited my oldest son to start playing keyboards on our church’s worship team. My son, a shy introvert, felt quite nervous and scared at first. But our worship leader helped him feel comfortable by giving him the level of responsibility that stretched him just a bit. And each time he plays, my son gets stretched a bit more. Slowly, our Minister of Music is increasing my son’s confidence. The patience he’s showing my son and the confidence he’s helping him gain means a tremendous amount to me, and I truly appreciate what he’s doing with and for my son.

Appreciate people for the ways they impact the areas that are most important to you.

2. Consider what you admire.

“I would rather be able to appreciate things I cannot have than to have things I am not able to appreciate.” ~ Elbert Hubbard

Often, what I admire in others involves a skill, talent or ability that I simple don’t possess. Take working with kids under the age of 10. I’ve tried it, and I just am not very good at it. The PreSchool Director at our church is gifted at working with kids. She shows seemingly unending patience with anything from discipline problems to toilet training to disputes among the kids. I truly admire not only her patience with them but her ability to get them to focus and actually learn too. She amazes me.

Appreciate people for what they can do so well that you cannot.

3. Acknowledge what inspires you.

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” ~ Voltaire

Some people simply inspire for having a servant’s heart. Our Missions Pastor is such a person. She always has a great attitude and is welcoming to anyone and everyone who walks through the doors of our church. She inspires me to be nicer and kinder and to have a better attitude toward serving.

Appreciate people for how they inspire you to be a better person.

4. Notice potential.

“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being.” ~ Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Our Youth Pastor holds tremendous leadership potential. He has grown so much over the past 5 years, and it’s exciting to see him becoming what God called him to be. Each time he preaches, he improves. Each time he organizes an event, it’s better than the last. He’s constantly learning and growing and improving. I appreciate his willingness to always be learning & growing.

Appreciate people for what you see them becoming.

5. Go with the obvious.

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” ~ Albert Schweitzer

There’s so much to appreciate about our Senior Pastor.  He’s funny & compassionate. He’s known as a “grace pastor.” On a personal level, he takes the time to acknowledge when I do something and to help me see areas where I need to grow. He loves His kids and his family. His continually sparks something in me to want to shine brighter.

Appreciate people for the obvious differences they make in your life.

Regular Appreciation

“At the very least, do the very best… pray for them.” ~ Pastor Steve Miller

Appreciation should happen regularly, not just when a month or day comes up declaring a focus on appreciating someone. Scripture tells us part of our duty as Christians involves encouraging one another, and appreciation certainly does that. Take time this month to encourage & appreciate your ministers, but don’t stop there. Look for ways to regularly appreciate all the people in your life.

“Encourage each other and build each other up.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:11

DISCUSSION: What suggestions do you have for showing appreciation for others?

26 thoughts on “5 Ways to Show Appreciation

  1. We are called to encourage each other — and those who lead us need it most. I've been in those pulpits and there is no worse time than a Sunday night. You wonder… did I do right by you God? Did I reach people? Was I faithful to your word? They don't need their egos fed, just to know that they are making a difference. Thanks for these tips!

    • I get what you're saying about Sunday night… I feel that way after every time I teach the adult Sunday school, though I realize that it's not quite the pressures as pulpit preaching. We need to do a better job at not only encouraging one anther but at receiving the encouragement too. I know I tend to shy away from positive comments & encouragements because it makes me feel uncomfortable. One of my goals for encouraging my pastor is that he knows I am paying attention when he's teaching preaching and that I am at least attempting application too. I need to do a better job at encouraging the other pastors on staff too though. Thank you for sharing a pastor's perspective. It really helps to know this.

  2. Kari,
    I appreciate what you do. I appreciate how you impact me and others with what you teach and share here on your blog. I notice how you respond to everyone and how thoughtful you are in your responses. I can tell you go out of your comfort zone to minister to people. I believe in you and believe that you will continue to impact people here, at your church, and the people you connect with daily. I know you teach and your write another blog for ladies and I know there is a lot you do I do not know but would be impressed with I am sure. All done while being a mom, wife, and friend. Thank you for being who you are.

    • Thank you so much for these words of encouragement. And please know that I truly appreciate YOU! You consistently submit quality comments on my blog, and just taking the time to think through what I write that thoroughly blesses me. Then, you regularly encourage me, and that motivates me to keep writing. To top it all off, you are so aware of my life even though we've never met in person, and that inspires me to be mor encouraging to others because of how much it blesses me. Thank you, my friend!

  3. I think it is good to try to notice what people do and compliment them on it; to notice things they do and don't have to do. I think people do like when someone tells them they notice what they do well or better than most. I am honored if anyone ever tells me that they believe in me. I feel challenged and appreciated all at the same time if someone thinks I can do things that I don't even know if I can. I am blessed when someone says thanks for whatever it is I have done. I think written notes can be a great way to show appreciation and a great source of encouragement. I am shocked sometimes when I find people still have notes I have written them from the past.

    • You are so right about having someone believe in you more than you believe in yourself. My husband does that for me, and it has kept me going when I would have otherwise quit. You're point about written notes are a good one too. In this age of electronic communication and the trend of busyness being so in style, taking the time to hand write a note can be a tremendous encouragement that stands out in a person's awareness. I think we need to make this old habit new again!

  4. Wow, I knew there was a reason I liked October so much! Ok, here's my idea on how to show appreciation to your minister. Offer to babysit his kids so he and his wife can go out for a date! Well, at least that would make me feel very appreciated!

    • If only I lived closer, I could watch your kids for you while you take your wife out on a date! Maybe the intention helps you feel appreciated 🙂 Actually, a very good example. I've watched some of our pastors' kids before… and survived to tell about it.

  5. Kari, first I do appreciate you and what you do!
    I told my pastor and his wife already how much we appreciate them. I know many pastors only hear the bad and not the good. Thanks for reminding people to tell them the good.
    Also please don't forget the pastor's spouse! Whether it is a she or a he, that person gives up a lot when their spouse chooses to follow God's call and become a pastor. Though they often gladly serve the church without pay, they are behind the scenes helping the pastor be who they are. So please remember to include the spouse in your appreciation.
    I remember someone who believed in me when I did not believe in myself. I am grateful for that, and am where I am today because of it.
    Thanks for another great message!

    • Thanks, Mary. The feeling is mutual. We definitely remember our pastor's spouses too. When the senior pastor recognizes the pastors, he has their families on the platform with them and recognizes their role in the ministry. My post just would be way too long if I included them specifically, but I hope the point was clear to make appreciation a habit for everyone in your life. And yes, someone believing in you when you don't believe in yourself is huge. My husband is that for me!

  6. Such an important topic, Kari. I have been hurt many times by lack of appreciation, so I try to be sensitive to this need. I'm sure I've missed opportunities, but so many people are starving for it.

  7. It's so important to thank and show our appreciation to our pastors and church leaders. From my years in church leadership, they don't hear those needed words enough. Thank you for this reminder!

    • Probably few people, church leadership or not, receive enough appreciation. Wonder how many marriages it would save, kids it would keep out of trouble & employees it would keep.

  8. In the middle of Pastor Appreciation Month, I'm leaving one church (actually 3) and arriving at another. Despite being between 2 places, I've been blessed in so many ways since the beginning of October. Cards from people I've served in the past have helped encourage me in this time of transition. A farewell party in Richland Center (the community where we've lived for almost 13 years) provided a venue where I got see and speak with people who've touched my life in profound ways. A joint service on Sunday (all 3 churches meeting together) followed by a dinner makes saying goodbye a mixture of joy and sadness.

    Thanks for the very practical words on how to appreciate others. Thanks as well for directing the attention toward those who serve the church in their calling. Your admonition to make this practice more than a one-month exercise is so on target. God bless.–Tom

    • Your current reality gives a terrific example of how encouragement & appreciation help in times of transition and change. Plus, I am truly motivated to be more encouraging when I hear how much it matters to pastors who so want to be a blessing but who realize the need to be blessed by others. Thank you!

  9. Well said Kari. I was at one church where PAM was "observed" every year. by the end of my tenure it was sort of blase'. I have been at a church where it was observed once…spear-headed by a former pastor and his wife. Where I am now it is not celebrated or even mentioned. i would much rather prefer it this way. They let me know all year long how they feel.

    • My pastor, though very uncomfortable with public recognition and appreciation, deliberately promotes PAM to keep us in the habit of showing appreciation. He publicly appreciates his staff, and we have a board member assigned to heading up appreciation for him. It's not done in a religious way at all but in a way that promotes encouragement & appreciation. He also encourages that we regularly show these things. The atmosphere of how it is done at our church works well to promote the spirit of why it is done. I would be uncomfortable with it if it were a "show" for the person, if that makes sense. As with several other pastors, you confirm the importance of showing appreciation year round and not just once a year when you "have" to, kind of like having to buy your wife flowers or something on Valentine's Day.. We certainly don't want Pastor Appreciation to become another Hallmark Holiday.

  10. Great post, Kari. I've been in full-time ministry for 15 years, including pastoring. And I can tell you when someone in the church appreciates you or does something to show appreciation, it means the world! So thank you for this. I hope many reach out to their pastors and tell them how much they are appreciated!

    • I am hearing over & over how important encouragement is for pastors. Knowing that, even though they also seem to struggle receiving it (at least mine does), I need to give it anyway. Thank you for that additional confirmation.

  11. I think one powerful thing, too, is regular appreciation. It's nice to get that yearly letter, but I can imagine that just regularly being encouraged helps keep pastors pumped up 🙂

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