The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) in Washington, USA, launched a new national campaign to help congregations “show and share God’s love” for their pastors in creative and practical ways.
NAE was founded in 1942 and is committed to developing solutions for the financial pressures pastors face.
The Bless Your Pastor campaign is part of a larger initiative to address financial challenges faced by pastors and is funded by a $1 million, 3-year grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.
The campaign will encourage and equip churches to consider creative ways to bless their pastors and to take up a special appreciation offering for their pastors. Some churches may decide to extend this campaign to church staff members, besides their pastors.
Brian Kluth, national director of NAE Financial Health and spokesperson for Bless Your Pastor, said,
“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.
Bless Your Pastor is about people in the church sharing their time, talents and treasures to creatively bless their pastors and church staff members. 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.”
Churches that sign up for the Bless Your Pastor campaign will receive a robust toolkit that will make it easy to launch and spark excitement for the campaign in their churches.
The toolkit 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 organising this behind-the-scenes effort; template letters and emails; social media graphics; and more.
According to recent research from the NAE, LifeWay and InTrust, most pastors and their families operate with limited financial resources to meet their current and long-term needs but are reluctant to open up about their struggles.
In America, 90 percent of pastors feel financial pressure; 50 percent make less than $50,000 per year while serving their churches 50-60, or more, hours per week; nearly 60 percent of pastors do not receive retirement or healthcare benefits from their churches, and 3 out of 10 pastors have student loan debt averaging $36,000.
While pastors face great financial hardships, the survey finds that most decide not to turn to their churches for help. About one-third of the pastors said there is no one outside of their own household they can confide in about their financial situation. In addition, about 37 percent of the pastors said they are not familiar with any resources offered by their denomination that will help them with personal finances.
“The vast majority of pastors do not have their own radio or TV show, robust church staff or megachurch attendance. Rather, they faithfully serve in small churches and face financial challenges stemming from student debt, low salaries and medical expenses. And sadly, they often feel they have no one to turn to for help,” NAE President Leith Anderson said in a statement.
The NAE will send an Amazon gift card to the senior pastors of the first 1,000 congregations that take up a special offering for their pastors (and staff, if applicable) and complete the online form at BlessYourPastor.org.
Here is a link to sound bites from Brian Kluth, Spokesperson for Bless Your Pastor: http://bit.ly/kluthsoundbites)
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