National research by the Barna Group indicates that pastors are discouraged, with 43 percent of pastors saying that they have given serious consideration to leaving vocational ministry. The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) created the Bless Your Pastor campaign to help churches encourage their pastors.
“Pastors spend long hours caring for the spiritual needs of people in their congregations and leading vital service ministries in their communities. Many also face financial stress and challenges,” said Brian Kluth, national spokesperson for NAE Financial Health and Bless Your Pastor. “The work can be both exhilarating and exhausting. This effort is all about encouraging and blessing pastors.”
The Bless Your Pastor program encourages, equips and empowers Christians and churches to prepare for October Pastor Appreciation Month. Since 2019, over 2,500 churches have participated in Bless Your Pastor, raising $1.6 million in appreciation offerings. In addition, the NAE has sent $600,000 in grant-funded gift cards to senior pastors at participating churches.
In addition, Kluth will travel to 50+ western U.S. cities on the Bless Your Pastor Tour to encourage pastors and church staff. Kluth will visit local radio and TV stations to provide Bless Your Pastor materials and to give live or pre-recorded interviews. Kluth will also hold local events that offer grant-funded training materials and appreciation dinners to bless area pastors and leaders.
“This year we’re excited to offer marriage retreats and family vacations to Christian camps throughout the United States for pastor families, in addition to $200 gift cards for senior pastors of newly-participating churches,” Kluth said.
Kluth has served within the financial health and generosity space for over 35 years, authored several 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.