Pastor Appreciation on a Budget

Do you know that the way in which you show pastor appreciation directly affects the quality and length of your pastor’s ministry? Yes, it really is that important!

Pastor Appreciation on a Budget

I recently had a conversation with a deacon from a church near my home.

I asked him if his church did anything for Pastor Appreciation month.

He said that they used to but they decided they didn’t want their pastor to think they only appreciated him during that one month of the year.

At first I was speechless at his lack of sound logic. But my concern overruled my lack of words.

I suggested to this well-intentioned man that according to his logic he shouldn’t do anything for his wife on Valentine’s Day so that she won't think he only loves her one day a year.

I really don’t think this deacon meant what he said – he just hadn’t taken the time to think about why his church does nothing special for pastor appreciation.

What about your church? Do you thoughtfully and strategically show your pastor how much you appreciate them?

Most churches have some type of special service or celebration during October – the month designated each year as Pastor Appreciation Month. That’s a great start. Now, what about the rest of the year?

One of the most basic and helpful ways to show your pastor how much you appreciate them is to increase his salary. But if your congregation is like most, you already pay your pastor as much as you can. What more can you do?

I’d like to suggest that there are at least four ways you can directly and immediately raise your pastor’s salary without paying him any more money.

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Pastor Appreciation Tips:

  1. Be sure to take full advantage of housing allowance and professional expense tax provisions.  In the USA, pastors are given special tax allowances and deductions that others are not offered. These tax provisions are so unique and helpful that very few pastors I know should ever have to pay much if any federal income tax. In addition, because these tax deductions reduce their taxable income to extremely low levels, pastors often qualify for the Earned Income Credit. So they won't pay much federal income tax plus your pastor will actually receive a check from the government. This is not a refund - it is "extra" cash in your pastor's pocket.
  2. Look into high deductible health plans that utilize health savings accounts. One of the largest out-of-pocket expenses for families today are health related expenses. Deductibles, co-pays, and insurance premiums eat away at a person's paycheck like four dollar gasoline. High deductible health plans have much lower premiums. But when combined with a health savings account they often provide as good or better coverage than a full health plan. Let me caution you, though, the church needs to fund the health savings account with the money they save on premiums.
  3. Find or negotiate discounts from businesses such as doctors, dentists, golf courses, automobile mechanics, and restaurants.
  4. Share the fruit of your labor. The three other appreciation suggestions need to be done by your church's leadership. However, you can help too. What do you have or do that you can use to help your pastor reduce his expenses? Are you a farmer or rancher? Give your pastor some beef or pork when you butcher an animal. Are you a mechanic, health care professional, restaurant owner, hair dresser, or computer tech? Help your pastor with what you know. Do you enjoy canning or freezing vegetables? Have a canning and freezing party and give the results to your pastor. Do you like to shop and have a nack for finding deals? When you "buy one and get one free" give the free item to your pastor. In short, whatever you know and whatever you do can be used to help your pastor's family reduce their expenses.

Pastor appreciation is not hard nor does it require a great deal of effort. It does, however, require a little planning. Don't be like that deacon I mentioned. I know you appreciate your pastor. But does he know it?

Show your pastor appreciation by helping his family reduce their expenses and increase their income. That's the most practical and thoughtful way to demonstrate pastor appreciation.

This article was written by Daniel Sherman. For additional ideas and gifts to show your pastor how much you appreciate him, visit his very informative website: www.my-pastor.com

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