Although there are countless ways to say, “thank you,” sometimes nothing beats cold, hard cash. October is Pastor Appreciation Month, and the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) reminds church members that pastors often sacrifice their own needs to take care of others. According to research from the NAE, Lifeway and InTrust:
- Ninety percent of pastors feel financial pressure.
- Fifth percent earn less than $50,000 per year while serving their churches 50 or more hours each week.
- Nearly 60 percent of pastors do not receive retirement or health-care benefits from their churches.
- Three out of 10 pastors have student loan debt averaging $36,000.
This is why the NAE launched the national Bless Your Pastor campaign to help congregations thank their leaders in creative and practical ways.
“Having been a pastor myself, with three children and a wife who needed major medical treatments, I understand the financial struggles many pastors and their families face — and the tremendous difference it makes when a congregation shows their pastor they are there for them all the way, sharing God’s love and blessings in practical ways,” Brian Kluth, national director of NAE Financial Health, said in a news release.
Churches that sign up will receive a toolkit that includes a list of “50 Creative Ways to Show God’s Love to Your Pastor”; a short training video for church boards and leadership teams; a timetable for organizing this behind-the-scenes effort; template letters and emails; social media graphics; and more
“Bless Your Pastor is about people in the church sharing their time, talents and treasures to creatively bless their pastors and church staff members,” Kluth said. “Some examples can be babysitting; doing car repairs; offering low- or no-cost medical and dental care; sharing a vacation home; and providing gift cards to the pastor and family.”
The campaign is part of a larger initiative to address financial challenges faced by pastors and is funded by a $1 million, three-year grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. More information is available at www.blessyourpastor.org.