Even a small word of encouragement or gesture of appreciation can make all the difference in a pastor's life. (Pexels/Porapak Apichodilok)

October is Pastor Appreciation Month, and while churchgoers might think the "Good sermon, pastor" sentiments they give on their way out the door is enough, today's church leaders serve as a light to millions of people in a dark world.

Perhaps at no other time in history have America's pastors been more needed in this culturally significant time, says the American Pastors Network (APN, AmericanPastorsNetwork.net).

For that reason, APN is suggesting five reasons and five ways to appreciate and honor pastors this month.

"We know from research that pastors can feel isolated and sometimes unappreciated," said APN board member Gary Dull, who also serves as executive director of the Pennsylvania Pastors Network (PPN, papastors.net) and leads a church in Altoona, Pennsylvania. "Those feelings can sometime lead to early burnout, and today's churches need committed pastors who are sold out to preaching the whole counsel of God now more than ever. Even a small word of encouragement or gesture of appreciation can make all the difference in a pastor's life. And what better time than Pastor Appreciation Month!"

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5 Reasons to Appreciate Pastors

  1. Pastors are "on call" 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They often must break away from their own families to help someone in the church through a difficult situation.
  2. Pastors are selfless and make daily sacrifices for their congregations.
  3. Pastors make the Word of God and His truth plain and simple so we may apply it to our everyday lives.
  4. Pastors are people, too. Churches tend to put their leaders on a pedestal, but they also have joys and struggles, hobbies and favorite things.
  5. Pastors have followed God's call to give up their own life and their own desires to serve others.

5 Ways to Appreciate Pastors

  1. Tag your pastor in a social media post with the hashtag #pastorappreciation and tell your friends, family and fellow church members what you appreciate about your pastor.
  2. Send a personal thank-you note or card and let your pastor know how your life has been bettered.
  3. Make and deliver dinner to your pastor's family, invite them to your home or take them out for a meal, not only to express appreciation, but to also get to know them better.
  4. Find out your pastor's hobbies and interests and consider giving a gift card or certificate for an experience to enjoy "off duty."
  5. Give your pastor a gift from the APN online store, which includes resources that will rejuvenate and refresh your pastor. Now through the end of October, use the code MYPASTOR for a 25 percent discount on the purchase of the U-Turn DVD set, which are recordings from an APN church leader conference and transformative information.

Dull and Sam Rohrer, APN president, along with Dave Kistler, president of the North Carolina Pastors Network (NCPN,www.ncpastors.net), host the daily program "Stand in the Gap Today," the radio ministry of APN; find a station here or listen online at AmericanPastorsNetwork.net by clicking on the orange "Listen Live" button on the right side of the website daily at noon ET. Read more about the American Pastors Network and its "Stand in the Gap" radio ministry here.

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