Pilot Program Helps Subsidize Pastors’ Benefits

CHICAGO (Feb. 24, 2020) – A new Covenant Subsidized Benefit (CSB) helps under-resourced congregations provide pastors with broader health insurance coverage and contribute to their pension plan.

Paul Hawkinson

The three-year program is intended to serve as a catalyst for pastoral financial well-being. A seed grant from the Lilly Endowment is helping fund the pilot program.

“As we restructured the Covenant Pension Plan, one of our core commitments has been to begin to provide better care for faithful Covenant pastors serving in under-resourced settings,” said Paul Hawkinson, director of pensions.

The program is for credentialed clergy working at least 30 hours per week and in good standing with Develop Leaders whose compensation is  less than $31,600 annually. Other requirements are posted online.

Churches and their pastors must apply to participate in the program. A committee that includes representatives of the Pension Board, the denomination’s finance and benefits team, Develop Leaders, and local conferences will review the applications.

Early applications are due March 31. The program is effective January 1, 2020.

Approved applicants will receive expanded health benefits at no cost to the church or employees. Those benefits include:

  • Group life and long-term disability insurance
  • Access to the Employee Assistance Plan
  • Medical Bill Saver program
  • Access to primary care by physicians via 98point6
  • Travel response and assistance

The CSB will also include a scaled contribution to the Guidestone 403(b)(9) program. Most Covenant credentials require churches to pay 12.5 percent of the minister’s salary into their pension.

The program will be scaled over three years. The denomination will fund 75 percent of the retirement contribution in the first year, 50 percent in the second year, and 25 percent in the third year.

Initial funding for the entire pilot program is being funded through a Lilly Endowment grant as well as the denomination and major donors.

More information and an application are available online.

 

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About the Author

Stan Friedman is the news and online editor for the Covenant Companion and is grateful for the opportunity to serve in a job that combines his newspaper and pastoral ministry experience. He has been to 15 Bruce Springsteen concerts in four cities and listened to “Thunder Road” an average of at least once a day for 41 years.

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