Financial wellbeing is essential to the overall health and well being of those in pastoral ministry. Accordingly, the United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits’ “50 Ways to Support Your Pastor’s Health and Well being” included these ten suggestions for how congregations can contribute to the financial health of their pastors:
- Compensate the pastor fairly according to his/her experience, education and effectiveness.
- Provide all paychecks and reimbursements to the pastor on time. Never ask the pastor to wait for his/her paycheck or reimbursement because church funds are low.
- Ensure that all pension, insurance and any other benefit payments are made when due. Delayed payments may result in loss of earnings or put important benefits at risk of cancellation.
- Recognize that most pastors coming out of seminary have significant student loan debt that must be repaid; many continue to have significant debt later in their career as well.
- Understand that the pastor’s spouse may also work to support the family financially in order to reach long-term goals, such as sending children to college, retirement, etc.
- Budget adequate funds to cover the costs of the pastor’s continuing education.
- Ensure adequate funds are budgeted to cover the costs of the pastor’s attendance at required judicatory and denominational gatherings.
- Be aware of the unique tax laws that apply to clergy, working with the pastor to structure his/her compensation package in a way that best fits his/her family and life situation.
- Be sure the pastor is aware of ways to make personal contributions toward his/her retirement and how to make use of appropriate financial planning resources.
- Make sure your congregation supports efforts to help make seminary more accessible and affordable by providing support for clergy education and scholarships.
These points are adapted from “50 Ways to Support Your Pastor’s Health and Wellbeing” issued by the Center for Health of the United Methodist General Board of Pension and Health Benefits and used by permission.
- A Dialogue About Stewardship and Personal Finances by Robert Moon
- Your Money Autobiography by Ginger Anderson-Larson
- Overcoming the Fear of Talking About Money by Cathy Abbott