Helping pastors remain and be more effective in ministry.
The Excellence in Ministry (EIM) program is helping reduce financial pressures that impede our pastors’ ability to serve effectively. EIM is part of Lilly Endowment, Inc.’s National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders. (Read more about the Endowment’s Initiatives here.)
Through EIM, pastors in their first five years of ministry are:
- Discovering they are not alone in their search for financial security. Many pastors suffer in silent shame about the amount of debt they carry and their inability to handle financial emergencies. EIM is helping lift the veil of silence for pastors and helping build their confidence.
- Gaining critical tools to bring financial freedom to their home. Together with their spouses, EIM pastors have access to top-rate personal financial education and coaching, helping them make informed decisions on their way to long-term financial wellness
- Providing more informed financial leadership to their congregations. EIM pastors are finding their voice in matters of money and faith and preaching more boldly about generosity, leading their churches to live more generous lives.
“This program has been a critical component of our financial well-being over the last two years and has encouraged my spouse and I to be more financially informed while providing needed relief from the stresses of our indebtedness.”
(Rev. Kevin Howe, Harvard Avenue Christian Church, Tulsa, OK)
“My spouse and I have had budget meetings that allow us to set goals and evaluate our habits and progress. As a result of the grant money given to us, we were able to pay off a big medical bill and eliminate a significant monthly expense. We can now make that money work for us by placing it in our Benefit Accumulation Account with the Pension Fund."
(Rev. Melissa Guthrie Loy, First Christian Church, Greensboro, NC)
How does it work?
Each year, 20 pastors in their first five years of ministry are selected to participate in EIM. See the link to the left to learn more about eligibility and application materials.
After being selected, pastors (and their spouses, if married) participate in a three-day Personal Finance Academy where they join with peers to sharpen their skills in financial management. Then, pastors connect monthly in small peer groups for support and accountability. EIM pastors then gather for two more face-to-face retreats where they share in conversations about their theology of money, leading stewardship and preaching on the topic of money.
In additional to the financial training and peer support, EIM pastors also receive a financial relief grant of $8,000 (plus $2,000 for taxes) to help payoff debt and/or fund an emergency savings account.
Excellence in Ministry Partners:
- Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Indiana: Also the recipient of a Lilly Endowment grant, the Indiana region has developed “Flourish!” – a similar program serving Disciples pastors in Indiana. Read more about “Flourish!” here.
- Bethany Fellows: With 20 years of experience in nurturing clergy peer groups, Bethany Fellows works with EIM to offer safe and brave spaces for pastors and spouses to share conversation, prayer and long-lasting collegial relationships.
- Lexington Theological Seminary: LTS’s online education platform helps EIM pastors share in learning experiences with their lay leaders. Web courses in congregational administration and finance part of the EIM curriculum.