Benefits grants for organizing pastors and evangelists

These grants support the evangelism efforts of presbyteries planting churches and cultivating new ministries by funding the enrollment of organizing pastors and evangelists in Pastor’s Participation.

The Board of Pensions recognizes that many communities served by organizing pastors and evangelists (church job code 301) face economic challenges, and so may not enroll their ministers in the Benefits Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). To meet this challenge and support the evangelism efforts of presbyteries planting new churches and cultivating new ministries, the Board will offer grants to the presbyteries that employ these ministers, to fund the cost of enrolling them in Pastor’s Participation.

The grants for this comprehensive coverage, which includes family medical, pension, Retirement Savings Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and death and disability, take effect January 1, 2020.

How it works

The presbytery applies for the grant during the application period, May 1 to July 15, 2019. The Board of Pensions will initially approve up to 30 one-year grants, renewable for up to five years; we will annually consider expanding the program for new applicants.

The grants will be issued as monthly credits to the presbytery’s benefits bill. They will cover the full cost of Pastor’s Participation for the first three years of enrollment, and a portion of the cost for years four and five, as follows:

  • The grant and dues will be established at minimum participation levels for Pastor’s Participation.
  • The grant will be issued as a credit to the presbytery’s monthly bill for benefits, which will show the cost of Pastor’s Participation for the approved individual.
  • The grant covers the full cost of enrollment in Pastor’s Participation the first three years the individual qualifies, two-thirds of the cost in the fourth year, and one-third in the fifth year, as shown in the chart.
​Benefits dues payments for approved organizing pastor or evangelist ​ ​
​Grant year ​Board pays ​Presbytery pays
​Years 1-3​100 percent​0 percent
​Year 4​66 2/3 percent​33 1/3 percent
​Year 5​33 1/3 percent​66 2/3 percent


For a presbytery to be eligible for the grant, the minister must

  • be employed by the presbytery in church job code 301 for no less than 20 hours per week;
  • have an effective salary that is less than the congregational minister’s median ($59,100 for 2019);
  • not currently be enrolled in Pastor’s Participation and not have been enrolled for Pastor’s Participation in this employment relationship, or with this employer, for at least two years before enrollment in this grant program; and
  • not have initiated a retirement benefit with the Board of Pensions.

How to apply

The presbytery must submit a completed application to the Board of Pensions; the process requires a review and endorsement by the Committee on Ministry.

The Board will accept completed applications through July 15, 2019, and notify presbyteries by August 30, 2019, whether they have been approved or not.