back to the leaders manual

"Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor. "
-Galatians 6:6 NIV


Pastor Appreciation Sunday is a time to show those called to vocational ministry that the congregation loves them and esteems them for their position as spiritual leaders. The focus of all our worship should be first and foremost on Jesus Christ, the Lord of the Church. He is the one who has called servants to follow in His steps as preachers and teachers. It is only in this context of praise to God that praising individual Christians is appropriate.

The suggested service format offered below can be modified to fit the goals and worship style of your church. Be sure to emphasize the theme selected by the committee. With proper planning and prayer, this celebration Sunday can have a great spiritual impact on all attendees.

Suggested Sunday Morning Order of Worship

10:00 a.m. Pin an appropriate flower on honorees and their spouses

11:00 a.m. Welcome the worshipers and introduce the theme of the day

11:05 a.m. Congregational singing and special music

11:15 a.m. Responsive reading
Presentation of Certificates of Appreciation

11:20 a.m. Prayer by a man, woman, and youth from the congregation

11:25 a.m. Love offering

11:30 a.m. Morning message by lay person, guest speaker, or pastor

11:50 a.m. Presentation of love offering and/or special gifts from the congregation

11:55 a.m. Response by pastor and benediction

Introduction. The following opening address could be read by the worship leader to introduce Pastor Appreciation Sunday.

According to Ephesians 4:11, God calls people to various roles of Christian ministry. Through this divine act, God established the human means for the spiritual care of His people.

Today we celebrate the call of those involved in vocational Christian ministry within our congregation. As we do, we not only want to honor them, but also challenge others to be receptive to a call from the Lord to Christian service as their life's work. The called are God's anointed servants for ministry. While all believers are spiritually gifted to share in the Church's mission, the called are God's specially chosen leaders for our endeavors.

Today, as we celebrate, we worship God our Savior, and we commit ourselves to hold in high esteem those He has charged with our spiritual nurture and care. We also pledge to be ministers to others with Christian love, and we renew our willingness to do God's will as He reveals it to us and our church.

Music. Because of the day's special events, the music portion of the worship service may not be as lengthy as in a regular service. Choose music and songs that support the selected theme. Be sure to provide time for musicians to rehearse before the service. Aim for excellence in the selection and presentation of special music, as well.

Responsive Reading. The responsive reading offers the entire congregation an opportunity to express appreciation with one voice to those called into vocational Christian service.


- A Responsive Reading

Reader: In answering God's call to the ministry, you have obeyed His will for your life.

Congregation: We celebrate your call and thank God for you.

Reader: Your call has come in answer to the prayers of God's people that He would "send forth laborers" into the harvest fields of our world.

Congregation: We celebrate your call and will pray for you.

Reader: Your call comes through your love for lost souls.

Congregation: We celebrate your call and commit ourselves to be witnesses for Christ.

Reader: Your call is evident in your concern for God's people and your spiritual service to us.

Congregation: We celebrate your call and, according to your example, we promise to love and serve one another in Christ, too.

Reader: And all the people said,

Congregation: Amen!


Certificate of Appreciation. An attractive certificate or display plaque is an appropriate way to honor your pastoral staff members for their service to your church and community. It will be a gift fondly remembered in coming years. Certificates should be prepared by a calligrapher or someone with stylish handwriting. Plaques should be professionally engraved. Either may be purchased locally or from your denominational publisher.

Prayer. Select two or three persons to lead prayers for the pastor and his/her family, for the church, the community, and the world. One could offer prayers of adoration to God; the second, prayers of confession and thanksgiving; and another, prayers for specific requests concerning the pastor, church, and the ministry of the Gospel.

Message. Have a lay person present a 15-minute devotion concerning the way ministers have touched his/her life. The message should be warm, friendly, and expressive of the congregation's appreciation for its ministers. Or invite a guest speaker to address the need for God-called spiritual leaders, the characteristics of a spiritual leader, or ways to build up a pastor for more effective ministry.

Prayer of Blessing. At the conclusion of the message, have those who are being honored stand before the congregation. The Local Board of Administration, representing all the people, may lay hands on them in a special prayer for God's blessings on their lives and service.

Gifts. If the church receives a love offering or encourages special gifts for the pastoral staff, present them during the service or fellowship activities that follow. After the presentation, close the service with a happy, positive benediction.


The Department of Evangelism and Church Growth prepares Pastor Appreciation Sunday resources for use by the local churches. Packets are mailed to each local Wesleyan Church in care of the Vice Chairman of the Local Church Board. Current resources may be viewed on line by clicking here

back to the leaders manual