What is the Ministers Financial Health grant/loan for?
Lilly Endowment, Inc., has generously granted the seed money to provide direct aid in the form of grants and loans as a key part of their nationwide initiative to address financial challenges that impact pastor effectiveness. Research has shown that economic challenges can greatly impair a minister’s ability to lead and serve their church. One way the grant aims to address these challenges is by making grants and low-interest loans available directly to pastors and ministerial staff. Grant and loan funds can be used to pay down student loan debt, medical debt, credit card debt, mortgage loans, or other debts, to build up emergency savings 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.
How much is the loan for?
Loans are up to $5,000 and are administered through the Baptist Credit Union.
Interest rates on loans are determined upon loan approval.
How much is the grant for?
The grants are matching grants. The maximum grant award is $2500. Ministers can raise the matching funds personally or the church can raise funds for the minister. Matching funds must be sent to Texas Baptists prior to the grant award being distributed. Once the matching funds are received, matching funds and the grant award will be included in a check to the minister.
Am I eligible for the grant/loan?
To be eligible for the grant, pastors and ministerial staff must have served at least one year in a church that is affiliated and participating with the Baptist General Convention of Texas (a participating church should have 6 months affiliation and contribution history to the Cooperative Program.) See the Eligibility and Guidelines for more details regarding eligibility.
What are the requirements for the Ministers Financial Health Grant and Loan?
Pastors and their church have one-year to meet the grant requirements. The grant and loan requirements are:
- Ministers must meet with an assigned financial counselor at least three times
- Ministers must attend a financial seminar in Dallas, TX with a lay leader (ideally a treasurer or someone on the finance or personnel committee)
- Ministers must, upon completion, complete and submit a final report.
- Ministers, or their church, must raise the matching funds for the grant, and for the loan, make regular loan payments.
- The appropriate committees and/or leaders of the minister’s church must meet with a church consultant, or qualified professional to review the pastors compensation package.
How do I get matching funds?
We encourage the pastors church to support pastors and ministerial staff by walking with them through their financial struggles and having conversations concerning compensation and exploring resources and tools the pastor has available to them. The grant is a great way for the church to bless the pastor. If possible, a church providing the matching funds to support a pastor demonstrates the churches dedication to the pastor’s well-being and future.
In select cases and subject to availability, Texas Baptists can help with matching funds thanks to grants from the Mary Hill Davis Offering for Texas Missions, the Texas Baptists Missions Foundation, the Baptist Health Foundation, and the High Plains Missions Foundation.
My grant application was rejected - can I reapply?
Because grant funds are limited, we cannot award grants and loans to every applicant. If your application was rejected, you can reapply during the next grant cycle. In the meantime, you can still meet with a financial counselor. To request a financial counselor in your area, visit: Link to request 1:1 meeting with financial counselor
I was approved for a grant but am now leaving my church and lost matching funds, am I still eligible?
We understand that for various reasons, pastors and ministerial staff leave their current church. We will review each case and make a determination as to the pastor’s eligibility for the grant and loan.
Can I apply for both the Grant and the Loan?
Ministers can apply for both the grant and the loan and be awarded both. First time applicants will be considered first.
How do I apply?
You can complete the application by visiting our website and clicking on the “Application” button. If you have questions concerning your eligibility or questions about the requirements, email Tammy Tervooren, Director of the Center for Financial Health, at tammy.tervooren[at]texasbaptists.org or call 214-828-5136.