The word of God continued to spread; the number of the disciples increased greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.
— Acts 6:7
Spreading the good news lies at the heart of what it means to follow Jesus. Evangelism is the core of church vitality and growth. At the Board of Pensions, we serve in supporting, strengthening, and sustaining the ministry and mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
As we’ve listened to our denominational partners, we’ve heard concerns about ministers who are organizing new congregations but who aren’t receiving benefits through the Board and don’t have access to our programs and assistance. Presbyteries employ the minister while these fledgling communities begin the journey toward full chartered status.
The Board is helping presbyteries support the evangelism of new ministries and the cultivation of new churches. Our vision is for all ministers to be fully covered through the Benefits Plan.
Last month, our Board of Directors approved an initiative with such support in mind. We will provide 30 grants to presbyteries that employ organizing pastors and evangelists (church job code 301) when they enroll these ministers in Pastor’s Participation. The grants are renewable annually, for up to five years, and can cover the full cost of benefits.
This new grant is just another benefits dues incentive to facilitate different solutions in different contexts of ministry — to help build leadership for the future of the Church. Last year, we introduced Pathways to Renewal, a dues incentive initiative for small congregations and emerging ministries. So far, 23 new calls have been approved through this initiative, which is helping renew and revitalize existing congregations.
Pastoral leadership is essential to the vitality of the Church. Here at the Board, we’re committed to working throughout the denomination to promote and sustain new ministries so that we might build up the body of Christ in the 21st century.
Grace and peace,
The Reverend Frank Clark Spencer