By Brian Kluth
Across America and the world, pastors and church staff members faithfully serve and love their congregations. Many pastors and staff members have followed God’s call on their lives to serve the Lord and their churches, regardless of the sacrifices they make. National research shows that most pastors are operating with limited financial resources to meet their families’ current and long-term needs. Fortunately, God is bigger than church paychecks and has many ways he can provide for his shepherds and workers through the generosity of God’s faithful people this Pastor Appreciation Month and throughout the year.
1 Thessalonians 5:12 calls Christians to show their deep appreciation to those who minister to them. Galatians 6:6 says people are to share all good things with the one who teaches them. So, the Bless Your Pastor and Staff movement invites church leaders and Christians to intentionally show and share God’s love for their pastors and staff members.
Here is a list of over fifty creative ideas about how you and others can Bless Your Pastor and staff:
The best way to help your pastor and staff is to faithfully and regularly pray for: • Intimacy with God • Marital love and unity • Spiritual protection • Divine guidance • Emotional and physical well-being • Parenting skills • Genuine friendships • Financial provisions • Daily wisdom • Personal encouragement • Helpful mentors • Effective ministry • Time management • Quality study and prayer times • Helpful training, courses, and books • Leadership skills
• Let the pastor and staff know how God is specifically using them to bless, help, and teach you to follow God. • Remember their birthdays and anniversaries with a card, gift, or social media post. • Show appreciation for their strengths and give grace in their weaknesses.
• Give their spouses the freedom to be themselves and to find their own niches at the church. • Let their children “be kids,” care about them, and pray for them.
Food, Fellowship, and Fun
• Prepare meals or baked goods for them (ask about favorite meals or certain foods to avoid). • Give them a gift card for groceries, restaurants, fast food, or coffee shops. • Give them food from your garden, orchard, hunting, or fishing trips. • Invite them to your home or a restaurant for a meal. • Invite them or their family members to go fishing, sailing, camping, hunting, to the gym, concerts, plays, or sporting events. Offer to cover some or all of the costs. • Offer them and their families sports, concert, or event tickets. • If you have a vacation home, timeshare, recreational vehicle or camping gear, offer to let them use it. • Share frequent flyer miles that can be used for conferences, vacation, mission trips, or holiday travel. • Offer them the use of your dependable vehicle, SUV, or minivan for a holiday family trip or vacation.
Share your skills and time to help with any of the following items: • Babysitting • Auto maintenance and repair • Home repairs, maintenance, and projects • Decorating, painting, and wallpapering • Haircuts and beauty treatments • Medical, dental, and chiropractic care • Lawn and garden upkeep • Legal, estate, and financial services • Tutoring or lessons for children. If needed, communicate in advance if there are any out-of-pocket costs they will need to cover (e.g., parts for a car repair or materials for home repair)!
Faithfully give to your church, so your pastor and church staff can be properly compensated. Beyond the church salary, the Lord may prompt certain individuals to provide personal funding to help with any of the following items: • Pastor Appreciation Month offering • Marriage conference or retreat costs • Christian camp fees • Back to school fees, clothing or supplies • Children’s college tuition • Mission trips • Lessons or tutoring • Family or couple’s vacation or getaway • Pastor’s conference, seminar or training • Seminary courses or sabbatical • Student loan debt • Retirement savings • Medical expenses
Pay it Forward
Most people have heard about “paying it forward.” Do you know you can also pay it forward by passing along possessions you no longer use or need? Possible items could include appliances, furniture, musical equipment, clothing, sports equipment, or electronics. Ask if the items you may have available are actually needed and wanted by your pastor or staff families. Also, be sure they are in good condition and will not need costly repairs.
Note: Please be prepared to graciously allow your pastor or staff member to decline anything that you offer. Also note that most items mentioned here are not normally tax-deductible to the giver but are to be given out of gratefulness to God for what he has given to you.
For free resources churches can use to launch and spark excitement for “Bless Your Pastor and Staff” in their own churches, visit www.blessyourpastor.org.
Brian Kluth is the director of the national Bless Your Pastor campaign and the national director of NAE Financial Health. Learn more and prepare for your church’s Pastor Appreciation Month celebration this October by visiting www.blessyourpastor.org. Discover more resources on how church boards can care for their pastors at www.jesusisthesubject.org/care.