Faith Presbyterian Church is a 135-member congregation with relatively limited
resources. The church has not had an installed pastor in four years, utilizing a succession
of temporary supply ministers. The community is now experiencing growth and
the presbytery considers the congregation an opportunity for redevelopment. The
presbytery’s Committee on Ministry meets with the session to explore the possibility
of calling a pastor in the Pathways to Renewal program of the Board
of Pensions. The presbytery commits $10,000 per year for five years
to assist the congregation in taking this step of faith. With the
session’s recommendation, the congregation votes to search for a
pastor to be installed. The search culminates in a call to Jared, a 28
year old, married candidate recently approved for ordination. Jared
receives a $30,000 salary which is the minimum required by
The Book of Order (G-2.0804) requires that installed pastors
of congregations (pastors, associate pastors, and co-pastors) be enrolled in the Benefits
Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). According to this requirement, Jared is enrolled
in Pastor’s Participation. The position qualifies for Pathways to Renewal with dues
- 16.75% of annual effective salary for family medical coverage with a minimum dues amount of $6,000 ($6,000)
- 2% ($600) for defined benefit pension; and
- 1% ($300) for death and disability.
What are the benefits of Pastor’s Participation for Faith Presbyterian Church and
The Board's perspective
Due to the community nature of the plan and Pathways to Renewal (available since the
church is less than 150 members and has not had an installed pastor in more than two years), Faith Presbyterian Church is able to provide family medical coverage at less than the actual cost. This illustrates the community nature of Pastor’s Participation, the Church’s commitment to helping smaller churches who call young pastors (under 40) at lower salaries. The $6,000 charged for Jared and his family is less than a third of the actual cost of family coverage and $5,000 less than the minimum cost outside Pathways to Renewal.
- Jared accrues pension credits at the $59,100 national median salary for pastors. Dues at the median would be $6,501, which is $5,901 more than the church’s contribution in Pathways to Renewal. Both Jared and the church benefit from the community nature of Pastor’s Participation and Pathways to Renewal.
- The disability benefit — which includes 60% continuation of salary, continuing medical coverage, and continuing accrual of pension credits at Jared’s effective salary or median, whichever is greater — is unavailable in the commercial market. The lump-sum death benefit is determined by salary and age at death. It is multiplied for younger members with the assumption that it supports family members for a longer period of time. Without pension participation, death and disability coverage is priced at 2.5% of effective salary. In Pastor’s Participation, in this case, it costs $300 per year.
- Enrollment in Pastor’s Participation affords Jared access to the Retirement Savings Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), supplemental death benefits coverage, and such educational programs as Board University and the newly ordained Presbyterian
CREDO conference. (Jared’s continuing education cost for this program is $500 for each
of the two-week sessions; the Board covers the balance of the actual cost, for a total of
$10,000). The Assistance Program provides Jared with support, including the Minister
Educational Debt Assistance Grant (up to $5,000 per year for up to five years). Twenty or
more years of participation in the Pension Plan qualifies a retiree who meets income and
asset requirements for Income and Housing Supplements from the Assistance Program.