Guidelines and eligibility for the Ministers Financial Health Grant and Ministers Financial Health Loan


PURPOSE

Because financial stress and economic challenges can greatly impair a pastor’s ability to minister effectively, the Center for Financial Health offers direct aid and financial literacy to pastors and ministers that are struggling financially. Grants and loans can be used to pay down student loan debt, medical debt, credit card debt, mortgage loans, or other debts, to build up an emergency fund, and/or increase retirement savings. Funds cannot be used for ministries in the church, church building repair, or other church-related expenses. Funds cannot be used for current educational expenses and/or tuition. Funds are to be used for the pastor’s personal financial needs as prescribed above.

SOURCE

Texas Baptists are one of 38 grantees of the Lilly Endowment’s National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders. The generous grant from the Lilly Endowment provided the seed money for the loan and grant funds. A limited amount of matching funds have been made available for pastors and ministers that are unable to raise the match (for the grant) through their church or personal efforts thanks to grants from the Mary Hill Davis Offering for Texas Missions, the Texas Baptists Missions Foundation, Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio, and the High Plains Missions Foundation.

ELIGIBILITY/GUIDELINES

Ministers Financial Health Grant

  • The minister’s church must be affiliated with and participating* with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. If the church ceases to affiliate with the BGCT, the amount granted, if not yet distributed, will be released for another pastor. If the funds have been distributed within the grant year, the funds must be returned to the BGCT immediately. *A participating church should have one year of affiliation and at least 6 months of contribution history to the Cooperative Program.
  • Ministers cannot be currently employed or contracted by the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
  • Ministers must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
  • Ministers must have served at their current church for at least one year.
  • Ministers must agree to complete the following requirements within the one-year grant period:
  • Meet with an assigned financial counselor at least three times
  • Attend a financial seminar with a lay leader
  • Complete a final report
  • Raise matching funds (unless the pastor receives matching funds from Mary Hill Davis Offering for Texas Missions, the Texas Baptists Missions Foundation, Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio, or the High Plains Missions Foundation)
  • Ministers church must agree to meet with church consultant or qualified professional in the one-year grant period to review the minister’s compensation package and taxes.
  • Ministers and the ministers church must sign a covenant agreement with Texas Baptists.
  • First-time grant applicants will receive priority consideration
  • More than one pastor/minister at a church can receive a grant.
  • Pastors/ministers can apply for both a grant and a loan.
  • If the pastor is a church planter in our Church Starting process, applications will also need approval from the Church Starting Director.

Ministers Financial Health Loan

  • The minister’s church must be affiliated with and participating* with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. If the church ceases to affiliate with the BGCT during the loan period, the loan amount must be returned to the BGCT immediately. A participating church should have one year of affiliation and at least 6 months of contribution history to the Cooperative Program.
  • Ministers cannot be currently employed or contracted by the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
  • Ministers must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
  • Ministers must have served at their current church for at least one year.
  • Ministers must agree to complete the following requirements within the first year of the three-year loan period:
  • Meet with a financial counselor at least three times
  • Attend a financial seminar with a lay leader
  • Complete a final report
  • Minister’s church must agree to meet with tax consultant or other qualified professional in the first year of the three-year loan period to review the minsters compensation package and taxes.
  • Ministers must sign a covenant and a loan agreement with Texas Baptists.
  • Ministers must become members of Baptist Credit Union and maintain a savings account with at least a $5 balance.
  • Ministers must make monthly loan payments.
  • More than one pastor/minister at a church can receive a loan.
  • Pastors/ministers can apply for both a grant and a loan.
  • If the pastor is a church planter in our Church Starting process, applications will need approval from the Church Starting Director.

STEPS TO FOLLOW

  1. Submit an interest form at www.texasbaptists.org/cfh to speak with someone about the grant or click the “Grant/Loan Application” button on the Center for Financial Health webpage to complete an application, www.texasbaptists.org/cfh
  2. Complete the application and submit. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.
  3. The deacon chair or elder listed on the application will receive the Church Agreement Form via email and e-sign the document.
  4. Reserve seminar date(s) you can attend on your calendar and notify your lay leader of dates so they can attend with you. Mileage to the seminar will be reimbursed and hotel accommodations will be made upon registration and application approval.
    • 2020 dates are to be determined.
  5. Wait for the Center for Financial Health to notify you and your church of the grant/loan approval or rejection. Applications are reviewed on a first come, first serve basis. Some applications may need to be moved to the next quarter review.

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Made possible by gifts through the Texas Baptists Cooperative Program.

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