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.
“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?