Finding the right gift for a pastor or faith leader can be a little bit complicated.
Sure, there’s plenty of low-hanging fruit, like coffee mugs or generic books on religious topics. But gifts like these aren’t very meaningful and usually aren’t useful, either.
On the other end of the spectrum, a gift that’s too lavish or ornate might cause a different problem. Pastors may be uneasy to use or display a luxurious gift as they seek to live a quiet and peaceable life.
The best gifts for faith leaders are both meaningful and practical, appropriate for someone in ministry leadership while also touching or thoughtful.
If you’re fresh out of ideas, this post should help. We’ve compiled 10 meaningful gift ideas for faith leaders, with something for just about everyone on your list.
1. A Burning in My Bones
new biography for this year, A Burning in My Bones chronicles the life of the late Eugene H. Peterson, scholar, pastor, and teacher who created The Message. It’s a careful and loving picture of a man who has had an impact on many, most notably readers of The Message.
Equal parts charming and convicting, A Burning in My Bones would make a great read for most faith leaders, and it’s new enough that the volume might not yet be on your pastor’s bookshelf.
2. An Audible Subscription
Buying books for pastors can be tough. Pastors tend to have large libraries already and tend to scoop up any works they’re truly interested in reading. So (despite the previous recommendation) buying a book for a pastor or faith leader often means one of two things: you’ve either bought them a book they already had, or you’ve bought them a book they don’t want (and won’t ever read).
Sidestep this issue entirely by gifting an Audible subscription. With Audible, the recipient can select several audiobooks per month on whatever subject he or she wants. This gift could be used for theological study, professional development, or simply leisure and relaxation. The recipient gets to decide.
3. Barna Access Subscription
Barna, one of the top names in sociological and religious research and polling, is a valuable resource for data related to demographics and trends both inside and outside the church. The company’s Barna Access service provides access to that data, along with cultural insights and knowledge base insights.
Your pastor will appreciate access to Barna Research Reports, training videos, pastor resources, and more.
4. Leadership University (LeadU.tv)
LeadU is a (secular) leadership training curriculum and platform with a wealth of insights into leadership that would be useful to anyone in leadership, including faith leaders. The core offering is a set of 12 topic-driven episodes, but there’s plenty of additional material included with a LeadU subscription.
This could be a gift that keeps on giving: it will be useful to the pastor initially and could be rolled into a small group or leadership group training program for others in the church later on.
5. Thistle Farms Gift Baskets
Everyone loves a gift basket, but the ones from Thistle Farms come with a purpose. Every gift ordered from Thistle Farms supports women survivors of trafficking, abuse, prostitution, and addiction. Many of the products are made by women survivors as well.
Many of the gift sets skew female in terms of appeal, with plenty of lotions, candles, and other home items. These would be perfect for female ministry leaders, and there are a few gift sets curated for the guys as well.
6. Dignify Quilt
Along the same lines as Thistle Farms, Dignify curates and sells handmade items purchased at fair trade prices from Bangladeshi women in vulnerable, high-risk situations or recovering from sexual exploitation.
The quilts are high in quality, hand-stitched from sari cloth. They’re beautiful and available in a range of colors and patterns, and purchases do good in the world, too.
7. Finish Calendar
Is your pastor a productivity nut or a long-range planner? Or, on the other side of the coin, is your pastor constantly overwhelmed and overloaded?
In either case (or in quite a few others), this Finish Calendar could be a welcome and immensely practical gift. This large calendar is available in either dry erase or paper and is meant to be hung on the wall. See the entire year at a glance, laid out in a grid with no gaps. By planning and tracking schedules, projects, and initiatives, your faith leader can bring order to the chaos and feel a greater sense of accomplishment at the year’s end.
8. Leather Tote
A leather tote can be a meaningful gift to the pastor or faith leader on the go. It’s also an understated way to give a gift with a little more monetary value (without being flashy or over the top).
9. Boundaries for Leaders
From the author of Changes That Heal and Boundaries comes Boundaries for Leaders. This book is a new take Dr. Henry Cloud’s earlier work, now customized for the needs of leaders and managers seeking better approaches to managing teams, coaching direct reports, and building a positive company culture.
While not explicitly written for a Christian audience, Dr. Cloud’s Christian worldview is inculcated in the work, and the themes and perspectives within can easily translate to larger ministry structures.
10. Churches That Heal
Another resource from clinical psychologist and bestselling author Dr. Henry Cloud, Churches That Heal is a digital toolkit for churches and among the best church leadership training programs available today that deals with the crucial topic of mental health and the church.
Whether your church is looking to reinforce its own church mental health programs or it needs to develop mental health church resources where it has none, Churches That Heal will meet the need.
The program starts with helping faith leaders address their own mental health struggles before addressing the needs of their congregations. In this way, it’s the perfect gift for pastors and faith leaders for just about any occasion.