By BNG staff
A day after one Baptist organization announced it had received a $1 million grant to increase financial literacy among ministers, a second has received the same amount for the same purpose.
The $1 million given to the American Baptist Home Mission Societies is part of Lilly Endowment’s National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship also received a grant, which aims to help religious organizations address the financial and economic struggles that can impair the ability of pastors to lead congregations effectively.
With the grant’s support, ABHMS will establish “In Support of Excellence,” a program committed to equipping, supporting, encouraging and advocating for the well-being of American Baptist pastoral leaders. The program will utilize education, professional coaching and collegial support groups to help alleviate the economic challenges and related stress these leaders face.
Also, the program will offer opportunities for exploration of ministry models that promote excellence in ministry for pastoral leaders and their congregations.
“ABHMS is committed to working over the long haul to address the financial and economic issues that impact pastoral leaders today,” said Jeffrey Haggray, ABHMS executive director. “The grant will help us equip pastoral leaders and congregations with tools to deal with these issues through affordable and accessible financial literacy and church financial management training programs, and the Ministerial Excellence Fund will provide direct financial support.
“Each of the parts of the ‘In Support of Excellence’ program will help American Baptist pastors and the churches they serve to thrive as they seek to incarnate Christ’s presence in their communities.”
The ABHMS and the CBF are among 27 organizations representing a variety of Christian traditions taking part in the initiative.
“Pastors, especially those just beginning in ministry, accept low salaries as part of their commitment to God and to church,” said Christopher L. Coble, vice president for religion at the Lilly Endowment. “Many enter ministry with significant debt from their undergraduate and seminary years and often have little financial resiliency when financial emergencies arise. These organizations [participating in the initiative] understand the importance of the financial well-being of pastors and the implications for the congregations they serve.”