Focus on the Family established October Pastor Appreciation Month nearly 30 years ago in 1994. The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) has continued this tradition in the past five years through its Bless Your Pastor Program campaign. This grant-funded Easy as 1-2-3 program helps churches encourage and equip Christians to tangibly show and share God’s love with their pastor and church staff.
“Many Christians don’t realize how difficult and demanding it is to be a pastor,” said Brian Kluth, national spokesperson for NAE Financial Health and Bless Your Pastor. “Pastors are concerned for the needs of the families in the church, as well as their own family. And, they often face conflict and criticism while serving their church 50 to 70 hours per week. Bless Your Pastor is an opportunity to show you care.”
The Bless Your Pastor program encourages, equips and empowers Christians and churches to prepare for October Pastor Appreciation Month. Since 2019, nearly 3,000 churches have participated in Bless Your Pastor and more than $2.5 million dollars in appreciation offerings and gift cards have been distributed to pastors and church staff members.
This year, when churches follow the Bless Your Pastor Easy as 1-2-3 program, the NAE will send their senior pastor access to free and discounted retreat and vacation opportunities across the country, including an opportunity for all pastors at the church to apply for $300 scholarships to attend a Family Life Weekend to Remember Marriage Retreat.
In addition to the Bless Your Pastor program, the NAE provides grant-funded online training videos for pastors and church boards through partnerships with 15 national denominations. In the next year, these training videos are scheduled to be translated into other languages including Spanish, Chinese, Korean and others.
Kluth has served within the financial health and generosity space for over 40 years, authored several generosity books and resources, and is a frequent media guest. Kluth learned that God has many ways to care for pastors through their congregation when his first wife went through an 8-year cancer journey. This experience inspired him to write the list of “50 Creative Ways to Bless Your Pastor and Staff” and to help lead this movement.