Amid COVID-19, the National Association of Evangelicals launches a grant-funded ‘wave of sharing and caring’
With nine out of every 10 pastors in America under “financial pressure,” and six out of 10 churches facing giving declines during the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) today launched its second annual Bless Your Pastor campaign (BlessYourPastor.org).
Last year, thousands of churches received free grant-funded materials to help them participate in the first national Bless Your Pastor campaign. The goal this year is to “create an even bigger wave of sharing and caring for pastors, church staff, and their families,” according to campaign spokesperson Brian Kluth.
Funded by a multi-million dollar grant from a well-known endowment, Bless Your Pastor aims to ignite generosity and equip congregations to “show and share God’s love” for their pastors in creative and practical ways.
Churches participating in this year’s Bless Your Pastor campaign will share a list of “50 Creative Ways to Bless Your Pastor” with their congregation, take up an appreciation offering for their pastor, and receive a free $250 Amazon gift card from the NAE for their senior pastor.
‘Now It’s Time to Bless Them’
“Often under great stress, our pastors and churches have quickly changed course this year, learning how to live-stream services and develop creative opportunities to minister virtually,” Kluth said. “Pastors and church staff have been working tirelessly to bless others during this difficult time. Now it’s time to bless them.”
“Even before this crisis, the majority of pastors and their families were walking a financial tightrope — teetering on the edge of serious debt and wondering how they could pay essential bills,” Kluth added. According to NAE’s research, half of America’s pastors earn less than $50,000 per year and work 50-70 hours per week — with 90 percent admitting they feel financial stress.
The “50 Creative Ways to Bless Your Pastor” list inspires people to bless their pastor and church staff with their time, talents, and treasures. Examples include doing car repairs, sharing a vacation home, giving gift cards, or even providing free professional services, such as dental care.
Last year, after distributing a list of “50 Creative Ways to Bless Your Pastor,” one church in New Jersey collected an appreciation offering of more than $18,000 to help their pastor pay off his student loans. A church in Georgia took up an appreciation offering and hosted a special lunch for their pastor, including favorite baked goods. Among participating churches, the average pastor appreciation offering was just over $850.
“Having been a pastor myself, with three children and a wife who needed major medical treatments, I understand the needs many pastors and their families face,” Kluth said. “It makes an unforgettable impact when a congregation shows their pastor they’re with them all the way, sharing God’s love in practical ways.”
About National Association of Evangelicals (NAE)
Founded in 1942, the mission of the National Association of Evangelicals is to honor God by connecting and representing evangelical Christians. The NAE includes more than 45,000 churches from 40 denominations and serves a constituency of millions.
PHOTO CUTLINE: “NOW IT’S TIME TO BLESS THEM”: Research from the National Association of Evangelicals shows half of America’s pastors earn less than $50,000 per year and work 50-70 hours per week. Bless Your Pastor (BlessYourPastor.org) is a national campaign to show love to America’s church leaders.