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Pastor Anniversary Gifts

Pastor Anniversary Gifts
Selecting an anniversary gift for your pastor or minister at your church can be a challenging task. It is hard enough to pick out an anniversary gift for a spouse, family member, or friend. When it comes to choosing an appropriate present as a gift for a clergy member, to commemorate the anniversary of their service to your congregation, there are a few key things to consider. Let’s consider this further, as we explore gifts you should not give your pastor, and great ideas for what is in many cases the ideal pastor anniversary gift.

Common Mistakes Made In Selecting a Pastor Anniversary Gift

As much as we would like to think “it’s the thought that counts”, and we can be sure our pastor will be gracious and appreciative in accepting any gift; we ideally want to present a pastor with an anniversary gift (or gift marking another occasion, such as a pastor’s retirement) that shows some thought and care went into the process. To that extent, let’s briefly look at the most common mistakes made in selecting a pastor anniversary gift.

Gifts That Are Too Generic, Common, Trite, or Impersonal

These include all the classic “I don’t know what to get Dad for Father’s Day” type of gifts such as: neck ties, belts, wallets, shaving accessories, cologne, toaster ovens, coffee makers, etc.

Gifts That Are Kitschy or Tacky or of No Practical Use

Basically anything from a mall store like “Things Remembered”, or any engraved plaque, engraved clock, etc., is just cliche. Also anything that is essentially a “figurine” or “knick-knack” to be placed upon a mantel and be dusted periodically, should be considered clutter, and not a good choice for a meaningful pastor anniversary gift. Yes, even if you are “Magnolia Baptist Church” and it’s an adorable little ceramic magnolia which seems so appropriate in the moment… really, it’s not… be honest, you can do better than that.

Gifts That Are “Work” Connected

You would not give your spouse a vacuum cleaner, or cleaning supplies for your wedding anniversary, for obvious reasons, right? Why then would you give your pastor a smart phone (a leash), or lapel microphone, as his anniversary gift? You are not trying to send a message of “we love you, as long as you keep working for us”.

The Zero-Thought Gift

Cash and gift cards are the “I Give Up Gift”. We fall back to this as a last resort when we just cannot think of anything else. When given by themselves, cash or gift cards as stand-alone gifts represent no effort or thought on the part of the givers.

However, it should be noted that it is certainly appropriate and appreciated when cash or gift cards are given in addition to a more specifically thoughtful gift that is not necessarily expensive. Such a combination of “inexpensive gift… but also cash” is a great way of showing that some thought was put into the selection of a modest personal gift, and the addition of cash is provided to demonstrate that the intent was not to be cheap, but to provide thoughtfulness together with appreciative generosity.

Gifts That Seem Too Cheap or Seem Too Expensive

Having your congregation corporately give your pastor a very cheap anniversary gift such as a coffee mug, or pocket knife, or house plant, (or other generic, or kick-knack gifts, such as those listed above) sends a message that you do not greatly value your pastor’s work… or worse… that your pastor is easily replaceable. That is certainly not your intent, so it is not worth risking the implied insult that a cheap gift coveys. It is truly better to give no gift at all, than to give such a gift.

On the other hand, spending a very large amount on an extremely expensive gift, such as a multi-thousand dollar high-end wristwatch, or a new car, is only appropriate in two situations. One, is if your church has at least a few hundred congregation members going in together and splitting cost of your pastor anniversary gift, such that no one member or family felt obliged to contribute more than perhaps fifty to a hundred dollars at the most toward the congregation’s collectively generous gift. The other, is if there is one, or a few, very affluent members of your congregation, for whom spending a few thousand dollars on a gift for their beloved pastor is not really a sacrifice at all for them, and it brings them joy to do so.

Indeed, the primary budgetary expenses (including pastoral salaries, and building maintenance) of many small to midsize churches are often quietly and discretely funded entirely by one or two or three very affluent members who gratefully tithe from the huge incomes their businesses bring in, making up for the very modest collective balance of donations that come in each week from the remainder of the congregation. Many people would be shocked to learn how very common this is in thousands of churches in the United States, and around the world.

Great Pastor Anniversary Gifts

  1.  If a more expensive gift is appropriate for your situation, consider giving your pastor an anniversary gift that will be treasured forever and passed down to the next generation… the gift of a genuine original complete ancient Bible.
  2. These gifts show that you put a great deal of thought into selecting your pastor anniversary gift. These are gifts that will truly make your pastor stop and say, “Wow! I cannot believe you did this for me. Where did you get this? This is amazing!” And after all, isn’t that exactly what you want to do for your pastor?

    It is really not a difficult task at all. Just ask yourself, what message you are looking to send with your pastor’s anniversary gift. Then consider the gift you have in mind and think, “What message does this send?” A neck tie? A nick-knack? Or perhaps instead … an ancient printing of God’s Word?