Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations

​The Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations program restores the financial health and wholeness of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) pastors so they may revitalize their congregations.

​The Board of Pensions recognizes that, as a Church, we must faithfully address pastors’ financial challenges if we are to sustain — and even expand — ministries. That’s why we’re introducing Healthy Pastors, Health Congregations to all eligible ministers serving in congregational settings. This innovative financial education program combines pastor and congregational leader education with grants of up to $10,000 to qualifying pastors.

How it works

Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations brings a pastor and congregational leadership together to work toward financial sustainability by providing financial education and consultations to both the pastor and congregational leaders.

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 build a brighter financial future.

Pastors who covenant with their congregational leadership to complete the program will receive individual financial counseling with Ernst & Young Employee Financial Services, a provider of independent, objective employee financial education and counseling. 

Qualifying pastors who complete the program will receive grants of up to $10,000. The grant may be used to reduce or eliminate the pastor’s educational, credit card, or other debt, or to boost personal savings in the Retirement Savings Plan (RSP), a 403(b)(9) plan.

Pastor education

The pastor receives a grounding in financial literacy and financial management skills by completing online training modules in two series: Terms of Call and Personal Finance. The pastor also attends a training session with congregational leaders.

After completing the online learning series and the training session, the minister will receive financial counseling through Ernst & Young, at no cost to the individual.

​Education for pastors ​ ​
​Educational components ​Mode ​Time commitment
​Terms of call lessons​online​1 hour
​Personal finance lessons​online​1.5 hours
​A Theology of Benefits/Financial Realities of Pastors​in-person seminar​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 training teaches congregational leaders to

  • understand the financial realities of those who answer God’s call to congregational ministry;
  • appreciate the role justly compensating their pastors, including benefits, plays in the vitality of the Church; and
  • better care for, and support, their pastoral leadership, whose well-being is essential to congregational well-being.
​Education for congregational leaders ​ ​
​Educational components ​Mode ​Time commitment
​A Theology of Benefits/Financial Realities of Pastors​in-person seminar​2 hours

Grant awards

A one-time grant of up to $10,000 is available to eligible pastors after the pastor and congregational leaders have completed their educational sessions and the pastor has received financial counseling through Ernst & Young.

The grant may be used to reduce or eliminate the pastor’s educational, credit card, or other debt, or to boost personal savings in the Retirement Savings Plan (RSP), a 403(b)(9) plan.

The grant is paid through the Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions' Ministerial Excellence Fund. 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.

Let's get started

To learn more or take the next step, call us at 215-587-7219 or email us.