Mission Musings: From the Finance Team

A recent meeting with the Finance Committee of the Executive Board served to remind me of the privilege we experience daily in serving the ECC.

Each committee member, bringing remarkable and varied gifts in real estate, finance, business ownership, and entrepreneurship, commented on their own personal connection to our work—the gift of bringing distinct vocational gifts to the table in service of God’s mission in the world. What a blessing to witness talented laypeople fully engaging with the church!

As lay leaders, the finance team seeks to steward global mission as a “structure builder”—reinforcing good stewardship by maintaining or repairing existing mission structures while also re-imagining sustainable ministry through innovation.

Over the last year, our 3StrandStrong partnership has invited the Covenant into a renewed commitment to the essential financial support provided by local churches for our vibrant conference and broader Covenant mission. While that invitation is important, we know that it will only be embraced if we create real value for local churches—providing a suite of resources that seek the flourishing of local ministry. We believe in the power of the local church as God’s basic instrument for mission. We are here because of you, and we are here to serve you!

In addition to accessing the incredible ministry of our five mission priorities, we invite you to examine whether your local church or ministry is also fully leveraging the breadth of ECC financial resources.

  1. How can we help you in accelerating local church giving? More than 130 Covenant churches and ministries take advantage of our online giving platform. National Covenant Properties and the denomination have subsidized this important partnership so that local churches can raise support in a cost-effective way.
  2. How can we help your local church staff better plan for retirement? In addition to our pension plan for credentialed clergy, more than sixty-five Covenant churches and ministries now invest in our GuideStone Financial 403b(9) retirement savings vehicle, which can be quickly established for pastoral and lay staff in local churches.
  3. How can we help you build financial wellness, stewardship, and best practice? Hundreds of Covenant pastors and lay leaders have accessed our growing list of financial and stewardship resources made possible through our innovative work with the Lilly Foundation.
  4. How can we help make seminary affordable for you? The denomination has funded an innovative CovScholars, zero percent interest loan program at North Park Theological Seminary, providing the opportunity for a select group of Covenanters to pursue a residential MDiv degree at an accessible level of financial investment.
  5. How can we care for the health and wellness of your pastoral and lay staff? More than 3,000 Covenant pastors, church staff, and their families are covered by our comprehensive platinum-level Bethany Benefit insurance offerings, including medical, dental, vision, life, and long-term disability plans.
  6. How can we assist your local church or ECC ministry with comprehensive real estate and investment needs? More than 90 percent of local Covenant church facility loans are made possible by the real estate advisory and direct lending services made available by National Covenant Properties. Funding for these loans is also made possible by more than 4,500 dedicated ECC investors in NCP certificates.
  7. How can we help you with your financial planning? ECC individuals and institutions have nearly $1 billion invested in Covenant Trust Company, which, alongside Covenant Estate Planning Services, provides comprehensive investment management, donor-advised funds, charitable gift-annuities, and trust and estate planning services.

I invite you to review these resources, call with questions, and let us know how we can serve and encourage your local ministry.

About the Author

Paul Hawkinson is the executive director of finance, treasurer, and executive director of pensions for the ECC.

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