March 6, 2020
The Southeastern Synod is incredibly pleased to announce our involvement in the LifeLine Fund. A generous grant from the Lilly Foundation, matched by funds from our synod, will provide up to $80K in financial support for rostered ministers plus training and support for congregations who need stewardship assistance. In the ELCA, 83 percent of the seminary graduates averaged education debt of over $46K. With a median defined compensation of $50K for a first-call pastor, you can do the math and it is not pretty. In addition, many of our congregations are also struggling to survive financially. It’s time for a LifeLine!
The LifeLine Fund will provide rostered ministers with financial education, time with a financial planner, plus up to three years of grants paid directly to the lender. Grant levels will vary depending upon the level of debt and ability to repay. The rostered minister will be required to keep up with their loans and submit their annual report to the bishop. Rostered ministers may complete an application here (https://form.jotform.com/200215181602035).
For congregations, financial support will be provided to participate in either Stewardship for All Seasons or Cultivating Generous Congregations. These programs teach pastors and congregation leaders how to design and carry out their own year round biblically based stewardship program. Results have seen, on average, a 15% increase in new giving as well as transitioning congregational culture from scarcity to abundance. Congregations will come together as part of a cohort, traveling the road to financial stability together. Can your congregation afford not to participate? If interested, please contact Pastor Karen Boda, Assistant to the Bishop for Congregational Life, by clicking here.