Everence Pastoral Financial Assistance Program approaches end of initial funding

Faith and Finance |

Denominational leaders gather to discuss long-term sustainability funding

Front (L-R): Beryl Jantzi, Stewardship Education Director, Everence; and Merv Stoltzfus, Executive Conference Minister, Atlantic Coast Conference. Back (L-R): Heidi Regier Kreider, Conference Minister, Western District Conference; Daniel Grimes, Director of Enrollment and Financial Aid, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary; and Terry Sue, Director of Leadership Development, Mennonite Church USA.

How can denominational entities work together to address the impacts of financial stress on the well-being of pastors? That was the purpose of a gathering of church leaders in Pittsburgh on Jan. 31 through Feb. 1, 2018.

Hosted by Beryl Jantzi, Everence® Stewardship Education Director, the event's participants included Terry Shue, Director of Leadership Development, Mennonite Church USA; Merv Stoltzfus, Executive Conference Minister, Atlantic Coast Conference; Heidi Regier Kreider, Conference Minister, Western District Conference; and Daniel Grimes, Director of Enrollment and Financial Aid, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary. Brian Hershberger, Conservative Mennonite Conference Executive Director, also planned to be in attendance, but was unable to attend due to extenuating circumstances.

"The purpose of this gathering is two-fold," explained Jantzi. "We want to think collaboratively as denominational leaders about maintaining momentum for the Everence Pastoral Financial Assistance Program, as we near the end of 2018. Additionally, we want to consider sustainability practices beyond the life the program's initial funding."

The Pastoral Financial Assistance Program is funded, in part, by a $1 million grant awarded to Everence by the Lilly Endowment Inc. in late 2015. The program has been an overwhelming success. Within the first two years of the program, over 540 pastor and church leaders (representing more than 410 congregations) attended Everence-sponsored financial education events. Additionally, more than 120 pastors have received $1,000 grants to help them develop a comprehensive financial plan provided by Everence financial advisors.

But, with the grant in its third and final year, church leaders want to develop sustainability practices to assist more pastors experiencing financial stress.

"We recognize there are some gaps in the process, especially related to the complexity of the application process and finding matching money," Jantzi acknowledged. "This task group is working on ideas to guide our steps moving forward – with or without additional grant dollars – to help us build on what we've learned and make us more sensitive to the financial challenges facing pastors."

Before year-end, credentialed and active MC USA and Conservative Mennonite Conference pastors are encouraged to take advantage of the $1,000 subsidy toward the cost of a comprehensive financial plan that is part of the Pastoral Financial Assistance Program. Additionally, conferences are invited to work with their Everence Stewardship Consultants to plan educational events for pastors in their region.

Pastors in denominations other than Mennonite Church USA and Conservative Mennonite Conference may be eligible to participate in the new Pastoral Financial Plan Grant from Everence. Complete details about both programs can be obtained from an Everence stewardship consultant or at everence.com/pastor-financial-planning.
Madalyn Metzger

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Madalyn Metzger
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