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Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations

​After a successful three-year pilot in more than 40 North Carolina congregations, The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will roll out Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations nationally in 2019. Applications for the program, which supports pastors and congregations encumbered by financial challenges, will be accepted beginning January 2019.

Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations brings a church's pastor and congregational leadership together to work toward financial sustainability, by providing financial education and consultations to both the pastor and congregational leaders. In addition, qualifying pastors who complete the program with their congregation's leadership receive grants of up to $10,000 for debt reduction or retirement savings.

The success of Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations rests on covenants among the pastor, the congregation, and the Board of Pensions. Each party promises to take specific actions that, together, will help the pastor and congregation build a brighter financial future.

How it works

Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations combines pastor and congregational leader education with grants of up to $10,000 to qualifying pastors.

Pastor education

The pastor receives a grounding in financial literacy and management skills through, at minimum, seven online training modules plus the congregational leader training session.

The pastor also receives financial counseling through Ernst & Young Employee Financial Services, at no cost to the individual.

​Education for pastors ​ ​
​Educational components ​Mode ​Time commitment
​4 terms of call lessons​online​1 hour
​3 personal finance lessons​online​1.5 hours
​Congregational leader training session​in-person seminars​2 hours
​Financial counseling by Ernst & Young​individual advising & online tools​2-3 counseling sessions

Congregational leader education

Educating congregational leaders is a key component of the program. Members of Session and the Personnel Committee and any other key congregational leaders, along with the pastor, commit to a single, two-hour training session. This in-person session teaches congregational leaders to

  • enhance their methods of financial analysis and decision-making;
  • improve stewardship through effective management of church finances; and
  • care for their pastoral leadership in part through just compensation and benefits.
​Education for congregational leaders ​ ​
​Educational components ​Mode ​Time commitment
​A Theology of Benefits​in-person seminar*​1 hour
​Financial Realities of Pastors​in-person seminar*​1 hour

* These seminars are designed as a single two-hour session, with a meal or snack provided by the Board.

Grant awards

A one-time grant of up to $10,000 is available to eligible pastors.

The pastor and congregational leaders must complete their educational sessions and consultations before the pastor applies for a Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations Grant.

If the pastor also receives or received a Minister Educational Debt Assistance Grant through the Assistance Program, the combined grants may not exceed $25,000, and the maximum amount an individual can receive in a given year is $10,000.

Pastor eligibility

To qualify, the pastor must

  • be enrolled in Pastor's Participation in the Benefits Plan;
  • have a total household adjusted gross income* of less than $118,200 (twice the median salary for congregational ministers); and
  • have a total net worth of less than $250,000 (excluding value of home and auto).

*Adjusted gross income is the total income you and your spouse report on your federal tax form. It may include earnings from you and your spouse's job, self-employment, alimony income, and interest from a bank account — minus specific deductions, or adjustments, you're eligible to take.

How to apply

  • Speak with your Church Consultant to explore your interest in Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations or call the Board at 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN).
  • Applications will be available beginning January 2019.

For more information, see the following resources: