Your pastor’s job is to serve others in Christ through leadership. They’ve honed their knowledge of the Bible and they live their faith. They know how to lead and they’re good at it!
It’s time to write your pastor a “thank you” note.
A “thank you” message to a pastor could be a result of a baby dedication, baptism, birth, wedding, funeral, job recommendation, or counseling. A “thank you” note could also be warranted for a great sermon and you simply want to give them a few words of appreciation.
In the sections below, we will address the must-have points of a good thank you letter to your pastor. We will provide a few examples and ways to make your “thank you” note memorable.
Pastors Are Busy – Do They Receive A Lot Of Thank You Notes?
Most people who attend church may only see their pastor once a week, on Sunday. I’ve head comments that “pastors have it easy, they only work one day a week”. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
A pastor has a duty to preach but there are countless other responsibilities within a church that a pastor participates in (and usually leads). Here are a few of their responsibilities:
- Board meetings
- Interviews for hiring
- Community obligations (outreach, food and clothing donations, speaking)
- Baby dedications
- Staff reviews (youth programs, small group leaders, facilities)
- Project management (building or refurbishing)
Once you consider all the moving parts within a church, it’s easy to see how busy a pastor’s life can be. A lot of their time is spent working with others, or meeting with families who have gained, or lost, members (also ready my Pastor Appreciation Ideas).
Everyone who works hard is deserving of a “thank you”, but do you think pastors receive a lot of these notes? I suspect they receive many more “constructive criticism” notes than they do “thank you” notes.
Think about it.
When people we respect don’t meet our expectations we’re much more likely to let them know, than when they meet or exceed our expectations. It’s human nature to be more vocal about the negative (don’t ask me why).
However, I’m sure your pastor appreciates the “thank you” notes much more than the “constructive criticism” feedback.
Should A Pastor Thank You Letter Be Formal or Informal
The succinct answer is that a thank you letter should be formal. However, formal doesn’t mean that it should be a typed and signed letter as you might see in the business world.
In fact, a hand-written letter is probably your best bet. It makes the letter more personal, and although hand-written notes are often called “old fashioned”, they usually come across more sincere.
What It Shouldn’t Be
- Typed formal letter with date, address, phone number and email (you’re writing to your pastor, not your business partner)
- A generic “thank you” card with only your signature on the inside (a card is fine, but write something meaningful)
- A letter without a description of what occurred (make sure your pastor remembers the event)
- A marathon letter (keep your “thank you” concise and clear)
What Should Be Included In A Thank You
- Hand written (my preference, although typed is also okay), yet formal and respectful
- Names, dates, and specific details about the event or sermon
- Specific detail about the pastor (something said or done that was appreciated)
- Humor (you can be formal and humorous at the same time)
- If there was a ceremony, print a photo and include your note
- Flowers or chocolates are above and beyond (but not a requirement)
6 Great Examples For Writing A Thank You Note To Your Pastor
In the 6 sections below, we share examples to get your “thank you” note started. The examples are a beginning, so make sure to expand on what we’ve shared and personalize your note to make your pastor smile or laugh.
Don’t worry about your note being perfect. Focus on being sincere and writing what you feel. Even if your note isn’t perfect, your pastor will be grateful to receive your kind thoughts.
>>Also Read: Qualities Every Pastor Should Have
1. Pastor Thank You Note: Birth, Dedication, Baptism
We just wanted to say “thank you” for leading us in dedicating our baby to Christ. The last time my husband and I were on stage for a baby dedication, we were both less than a year old.
We were nervous about being in front of the congregation but we knew it wasn’t about us, it was about our child’s future. You prepared us for what to expect and we couldn’t be more thankful for the experience.
As you mentioned in your prayer, we will raise our child to be strong in faith and wise beyond his years. Also, thank you for praying for my husband and I. We have a big responsibility as parents and we will take parenting seriously.
We look forward to a few more baby dedications in the future.
2. Pastor Thank You Note: Wedding
Our family would like to thank you for leading our ceremony in marriage. Your presence will forever be etched in our memory. Your words of encouragement and guidance will be heeded, and your humor will ensure that we never take each other too seriously.
Equally so, we would like to thank you and your spouse for showing us what a marriage means. In addition to our parents, we have learned a lot by getting to know your family and we see the effort you put into maintaining a strong family unit.
Please accept this photo of you leading the ceremony. It will be framed on our wall for the duration of our lives.
We know you’re busy, but we might ask for your help in a baby dedication in the near future. Thanks again!
3. Pastor Thank You Note: Funeral
Each week you lead our congregation. You inspire us to live more Christ-like and you motivate us to do more for other. Last week, I witnessed your leadership during a difficult situation and I appreciate the time and respect you gave to my family.
A funeral is not an enjoyable time for a family. I knew this day would come but I didn’t realize how difficult it would be. Thank you for stopping by our home and thank you for the kind words at the funeral.
You were right when you said “focus on the good memories and allow God to create for them new memories”. Your words helped me have perspective and will continue to help me endure this difficult time.
4. Pastor Thank You Note: Recommendation
You’ve probably forgotten about how you helped me, but I wanted to follow up with you and say “thanks”! Last month you wrote me a recommendation letter for a job I applied for. Guess what? I was offered the job and after some negotiation I accepted.
I believe your letter of support had something to do with the job offer because my interview was pretty bad. How was I supposed to know they’d ask a question about drug use (just joking).
Whether you’re aware of it or not, a letter from you means a lot in this town. You are well-respected and always active in the community. The fact that you recommended me likely impressed the hiring committee. For that I am grateful.
On a personal level, I look up to you as a role model and as a Christian I admire your faith. Thank you for being there for me. I promise to keep you updated on my new job!
>>Also Read: Uplifting Words To Encourage Your Pastor
5. Pastor Thank You: For Counseling
Life isn’t always a smooth ride. For several months last year (Sept-Nov) you counseled my spouse and I. I had approached you out-of-the-blue and asked for help. I hope it didn’t seem like I was begging, but we were going through a very tough time and needed help.
Out of my respect for you, I came to you first.
Thank you for taking the time to listen and advise us on our relationship. Your insight and experience reminded us we are not alone in our struggles and we can overcome them.
I’m pleased to share that our relationship is stronger than it ever has been and we have made several changes to our life that you recommended. You mentioned that we should spend less time watching television and more time interacting as a family.
Now, we take an evening walk after dinner and we have a chance to chat about the day. This small change has helped bring our family closer together. Thanks again!
6. Writing Your Pastor A Note: Words Of Appreciation
Last month you payed our church a visit. I’d like to thank you for stopping by and visiting our church. The sermon you gave was wonderful. It’s my hope that you enjoyed our hospitality as much as we enjoyed your sermon.
Sometimes a congregation gets complacent with their usual pastor(s) and a new perspective is needed. We have an amazing pastoral team and occasionally we have visiting speakers.
Your visit was unique and your presentation style was easy to follow. Thanks for using the projector so I could take notes of the main points of your sermon.
If you ever look to relocate, please consider applying to a leadership position at our church. We’re always looking for great leaders in Christ!
7. Writing Your Pastor A Thank You: For Prayer
I know you’re continually praying for your church and those close to you. I’m unsure whether it’s common to give feedback from prayer requests, but I wanted to share mine with you.
Last month I asked if you could pray for my health. As you know, I’ve experienced a few setbacks and recently you asked the congregation to pray for me. I appreciate you doing that.
Although I’m still working through my health issues, I wanted to share a few positive things I was told by my doctor in my last appointment. The doctor told me “you’re very blessed” and “the worst is over”. This doesn’t mean I am cured, however, it does give me optimism that prayers are being answered. Thank you and the entire congregation for your prayers.
A thank you note to your pastor is something you can do to acknowledge and support the leader of your church. Thank you notes have an “old fashion” connotation, but they are the perfect way to express thanks, no matter the year. They never go out of fashion.
Sure, you can say “thank you” in person, but it doesn’t have the same effect. If you have been the recipient of kindness or if you’ve been inspired by a great sermon, consider writing your pastor a note to show thanks.
They will appreciate it and hopefully they will remember your name next time they see you in public!
Reasons for a “thank you” include births, baby dedications, baptisms, funerals, weddings, job recommendations, and superb sermons. Pastors have busy schedules so they may receive a lot of mail.
However, much of the feedback they receive is bound to be “constructive criticism”. A “thank you” note will be a breath of fresh air for any pastor.
A “thank you” card can be written many ways, however, there is nothing like a note that’s been hand-written. Write it formally, with your own personal flare. If you decide to type a thank you, avoid a business-like letter (save those letters for work).
If you send a Hallmark-style card make sure to write more than just your signature. Write a few paragraphs.
Add details about the event and what stood out to you. Also add humor to make your pastor smile. If you want to go the extra mile, add a photo, a few chocolates, or flowers (but a simple note is my preference).