A Growing Need

Of the 642 pastoral leaders surveyed in 2015, 4 pressing and prominent needs emerged: debt relief, health benefits, retirement contributions and financial advisement.

  • 67% of those surveyed carry a debt that equals up to 2 times their salary (not including mortgage.)
  • Over 50% of the participants making $70k-$90k annually have at least $150k-$250k of debt (not including mortgage.)
  • 41% of participant debt is student loans.
  • 44% of participants do not receive medical benefits from their employer.
  • Of this 44%, half have a church operating budget of $101k-$500k annually.
  • Three out of five participants do not feel prepared for retirement.
  • Only one out of four participants has met with a financial advisor.

A Plan of Action: The Ministerial Excellence Initiative (MEI) is designed to help pastoral and congregational leaders identify and respond to financial stressors causing anxiety. Pastoral leaders cannot perform at maximum excellence when stressing about personal or congregational finances. Congregational leaders cannot make informed, strategic decisions when burdened with financial pressures. The priorities of the initiative include:

  • CBF believes congregations flourish when pastoral leaders are empowered to minister and lead.
  • CBF partners with pastoral leaders and congregations to understand and to help to overcome the economic barriers that impede their mission.
  • CBF equips pastoral leaders and congregations by providing a variety of resources including financial education, coaching and grants.

The initiative provides funding for personal debt relief for qualifying pastoral leaders. The initiative also identifies resources and provides training events to aid in managing and maintaining financial integrity for both the pastoral leader and the congregation. We anticipate a sense of personal and congregational renewal, revitalization and commitment to informed financial management. Our goal is to stimulate a sense of confidence and increased knowledge in the lives of our pastoral leaders and congregations.

"Soaring student loan debt, inadequate salaries, minimal insurance coverage and under-funded retirement plans create stress for pastors and pastoral leaders in other staff positions and can divert their energy from effective and rewarding ministry. To provide a pathway for the future, we need to assess the fiscal health of pastors and their families, identify the economic challenges that threaten it and design innovative programs to ease these challenges.We rely on autonomy for many things, but as a Fellowship we can marshal the power of scale and mobilize to address this essential need."  - CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter

Minsterial Excellence Fund

Financial Literacy

Apply to recieve the Ministerial Excellence Fund Grant here
Before you begin filling out the application, gather the information on this checklist: 

  • General personal information including ministry job history
  • Current church address, faith group affiliations, weekly attendance and offering totals and annual budget total
  • Individual and spousal salary and benefits details
  • Financial information including balances for all bank accounts, loans and credit card accounts
  • Retirement account information
  • Trusted congregational advocate information - find more information here

Learn more about the initiaitve here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Sign up to recieve email updates from the Ministerial Excellence Initiative. 

Questions or comments? Email

  • General personal information including ministry job history
  • Current church address, faith group affiliations, weekly attendance and offering totals, and annual budget total
  • Individual and spousal salary and benefits details
  • Financial information including balances for all bank accounts, loans and credit card accounts
  • Retirement account information
Trusted Congregational Advocate information

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Decatur, GA 30030


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