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NAE launches 2021 ‘bless your pastor’ initiative in midst of church leader burnout

National Association of Evangelicals

The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) has announced the launch of the 2021 ‘Bless Your Pastor’ campaign, looking toward Pastor Appreciation Month in October. Earlier this year, the Barna Group found that 29 percent of the Protestant pastors they surveyed had given “real, serious consideration to quitting being in full-time ministry within the last year.” 

According to Brian Kluth, national spokesperson of Bless Your Pastor, “Pastors and church staff are emotionally drained. They have tirelessly served their churches and communities through a very difficult season with little respite. Now is an important time to let them know how appreciated they are. Let’s bless pastors and church staff across America like never before.”

 What the Numbers Say: Pastors Are in Crisis and Need Our Care

The NAE’s national research has shown that pastors face very real personal and financial challenges:

  • 90% of pastors are experiencing financial stress (which has increased since COVID-19).
  • 83% of pastors are providing both in person and online worship services to care for their flock.
  • 60% of pastors receive no retirement, health care or employee benefits.
  • 40% of pastor spouses serve the church 20 or more hours per week, normally without any pay.
  • 34% of churches have seen their giving decrease because of COVID-19.

The Bless Your Pastor movement, sponsored by the NAE through a generous grant, has spread across the nation over the last two years. More than 2,000 churches have participated and collected $1.2 million+ in appreciation offerings for their pastors. The NAE has provided $500,000 in Amazon gift cards to thousands of senior pastors.

“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 said. One grateful pastor commented, “There is a special feeling when you are blindsided by love.” According to NAE’s research, half of America’s pastors earn less than $50,000 per year and work 50–70 hours per week.

It’s Easy as 1-2-3 to Bless Pastors

The Bless Your Pastor campaign (English – Spanish) offers three steps for churches to help their pastors feel appreciated. The plan includes: sharing a list of 50 Creative Ways to Bless Your Pastor and Staff with congregation members; taking up an appreciation offering or giving a year-end bonus for their pastor; and celebrating the pastor publicly. For every new church that participates and completes all three steps, the senior pastor will be sent a grant-funded $100 Amazon gift card from the NAE.

 Bless Your Pastor Tour to Over 100 Cities 

To help spread the word on the Bless Your Pastor movement, Brian Kluth and his wife are traveling to over 100 cities across America in their RV motorhome. Kluth will be available for in-studio and Bless Your Pastor interviews at radio and TV stations. Watch CBN TV news and the 700 Club news story (click for video) on their ministry travels. Kluth is also available to speak for free at local Pastor Appreciation Meals and special city-wide events for pastor groups. Obtain free 15-30-60 second PSAs and social media graphics for media ministries to use to promote the Bless Your Pastor movement in preparation for October Pastor Appreciation month.  


Founded in 1942, the National Association of Evangelicals includes more than 45,000 churches from 40 denominations and serves a constituency of millions. The NAE provides resources, connection and influence to help evangelical leaders foster thriving communities and navigate complexity with biblical clarity. 

Carolyn Shaw
National Association of Evangelicals
[email protected]

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Religion News Service or Religion News Foundation.