Small-town church experiences big-time impact from minister health grant

by Emily Ahrens on October 24, 2023 in Stories of Impact

With a population of just over 2,200, Hale Center might not be the biggest town in Texas, but for the 30 members of Iglesia Bautista del Carpentero it is home, and the people there are family.

Victor Hernandez, Iglesia Bautista del Carpentero’s pastor, spends his days dedicated to putting together sermons and maintaining the church grounds. He retired from the local school district as a custodian and bus driver and has a heart for sharing Christ with others. His wife Lourdes is his right hand when it comes to organizing events and other things at the church.

But for a small church in a small town, a pastor’s compensation can be a challenge.

Hernandez, who is not eligible to receive Social Security, lives off of his pension from working more than 20 years at the local school. While it can be difficult for pastors like Hernandez to make ends meet, Texas Baptists’ Center for Ministerial Health is providing some much-needed support.

Easing financial pressures through generosity

The Minister’s Financial Health Grant, offered by the Minister Financial Health Team, is an opportunity for church leaders to support their ministers with the financial support needed to continue in ministry. Many times, pastors are doing what they can to get by but lack financial security.

Through the grant, if the church or pastor raises up to $2,500, Texas Baptists will match that amount. These funds can be used for the pastor’s personal financial needs, such as paying off debt, supporting their retirement funds or taking a much-needed vacation.

Marcy Sanchez has been the treasurer of Iglesia Bautista del Carpentero for the past five years. He was reviewing the budget after hearing about the Minister’s Financial Health Grant and knew they had to do something for Hernandez. He brought it up to the rest of those in attendance at their business meeting.

The church is paid for, and they don’t face too many expenses, even though their budget is small.

“Our biggest expense is the insurance for our church at nearly $3,500 a year,” Sanchez shared.

“So I knew we had to take the rest of our budget to give back to Victor who gives us so much.”

In the past, churches have collaborated with other organizations or foundations to raise the funds needed for the grant. But for the members of Iglesia Bautista, they gave from their own pockets – the church budget – to raise the maximum matching amount from the convention’s grant.

In addition to the financial support from the grant, pastors also receive courses on financial literacy, such as making the most of your ministerial income.

Quiet determination and consistency inspires faith community

According to Sanchez, no matter what day you drive by the church, the grounds are immaculate. If he decides to drop by and go see Hernandez throughout the week, he’s always knee-deep in preparing the next message for the next service. Through this close friendship and seeing Hernandez’s commitment to God firsthand, Sanchez’s faith has been strengthened, too.

“He’s very knowledgeable when he’s preaching – he takes it very seriously,” he said.

Though the church’s membership may be relatively small, the impact its membership had on Pastor Hernandez’s life was anything but. Through the gift from his congregation and Texas Baptists, Hernandez and his wife can experience some breathing room financially and enjoy quality time together with a little less stress. Together, both church and pastor are healthier.

Recharging for the future

Pouring into Hernandez provides the recharge he needs to keep going – and to help the church to keep its eyes on the future.

“We’re really trying to focus on the youth,” Sanchez said. “We want to support these children growing up in the church and make sure that the church will go on – and those children will take over the church and bring their children to the church.”

More than half of pastors are concerned about providing for their family and their financial security. Through the Minister’s Financial Health Grant, Texas Baptists hope to help ease that heavy burden.

To learn more about the Minister’s Financial Health Grant, visit

Texas Baptists is a movement of God’s people to share Christ and show love by strengthening churches and ministers, engaging culture and connecting the nations to Jesus.

The ministry of the convention is made possible by giving through the Texas Baptists Cooperative Program, Mary Hill Davis Offering® for Texas Missions, Texas Baptists Worldwide and Texas Baptist Missions Foundation. Thank you for your faithful and generous support.

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