Talking about money can be difficult for anyone, especially for Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregational leaders deciding compensation for pastors. Even so, there are good reasons to have conversations about finances:
- For pastors called to preach God's word and sustain a vital ministry, personal matters, such as financial planning, often take a back seat to serving their congregations.
- A growing number of pastors today are carrying significant educational debt or have insufficient savings for retirement.
- When pastors are not on solid financial footing, it can hinder their excellence in ministry and erode their personal well-being.
- Pastoral compensation and benefits are theological as well as practical matters.
As part of our connectional Church, The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) recognizes that we, as a Church, must faithfully address pastors' personal financial challenges if they are to grow and sustain their ministries and our congregations are to flourish.
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.
Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations offers a way to build the financial health and wholeness of PC(USA) pastors to better serve their congregations.
There are three educational components:
online learning modules for the pastor, available through Board University via Benefits Connect
an in-person training session for the pastor and congregational leaders, taught by a Board of Pensions Church Consultant
individual financial counseling for the pastor through
Ernst & Young Employee Financial Services,
at no cost to participants
Learn more about these educational components.
Eligible pastors who complete the education sessions receive a one-time grant of up to $10,000. The grant may be used to reduce or eliminate the pastor's educational or personal debt, or to boost personal savings in the Retirement Savings Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), a 403(b)(9) plan.
Grants for the Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations program are made possible in part because of a $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.
Learn more about the grant awards.
To qualify, the pastor must
- be a PC(USA) ordained pastor serving a PC(USA) congregation;
- be enrolled in Pastor's Participation in the Benefits Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.);
- have a total household adjusted gross income* of less than $118,200 (twice the median effective salary for congregational ministers);
- have a total net worth of less than $250,000 (excluding value of home and auto); and
- not currently be receiving Minister Educational Debt Assistance** from the Assistance Program.
*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, such as housing allowance, or adjustments, you're eligible to take.
**Qualifying pastors may participate in both Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations and the Minister Educational Debt Assistance program, but not concurrently. You must complete one program before applying for the other, and the combined grants may not exceed $25,000.
‘God shows up’ for pastor, through grant
Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations is enabling the Reverend Jeff Smith to get out of debt and start saving for his children's college educations.
Watch Rev. Smith's story.
Stories from participants
Since its launch, the Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations program has positively impacted the lives of many pastors and their congregations.
Read how the program has transformed pastors' lives and ministries.