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Financial Well-Being of Pastors Initiative

The results of our 2022 Compensation Survey were clear: financial health is one of the most pressing needs of Vineyard pastors and churches. This new initiative, made possible by our partnership with the Lilly Endowment, will help pastors, church boards, and local congregations build sustainable financial systems and habits.

2022 Church Compensation Survey

In 2022 VUSA conducted research in partnership with ChurchSalary regarding church and pastoral financial health through an extensive survey touching on pastor compensation, stress levels around financial topics, financial needs, and personal finance habits of senior pastors.

Notable research findings included: 

  • Senior pastor compensation trends
  • Financial stressors on pastors including challenges with retirement planning, debt, and budgeting 
  • Congregational demographics and corresponding giving practices compared to trends of other groups 
  • Trends around bi-vocational, part-time, rural, Las Viñas pastors and under-represented populations 

Program Highlights

Our goal is to empower financially healthy pastors, boards, and congregations through a 24-month financial education/training, mentoring and coaching program for up to 100 participating churches, believing that systemic changes require involvement at all of these levels.

For senior/lead pastors (and spouse if applicable), this will include:

  • 18 sessions of financial education on personal and church financial management 
  • Mentor-directed cohorts in smaller groups of 4-6 participants/couples for guided discussion and sharing
  • Personal finance coaching for each pastor/spouse on a monthly basis
  • Specialized support as needed such as coaching from a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) or others as appropriate to help participants work through more complex financial situations 
  • Eligibility to receive up to $5,000 in matching funds from the FWBP Fund distributed over two years, with portions eligible to go toward personal debt and a retirement savings account

For church boards the program includes multiple in-person and virtual sessions to develop skills, structures, and rhythms for healthy church finances including best practices, church financial accountability, engaging pastors in communication about financial topics, and more. The program also includes a multi-week sermon series on stewardship with accompanying suggested activities for your congregation. 

Get Involved

Criteria for inclusion include:

  • Pastor/church is in good standing with VUSA (giving 3%) and with your region as demonstrated by participating in regional activities
  • Preference will be given to churches which do not currently match pastor contributions at 3% or more and churches which do not currently offer a retirement savings plan benefit
  • Church board is willing to participate in multiple in-person and virtual education/training sessions over the two-year program
  • If married, a pastor’s spouse is willing to participate in the education/training, mentoring and coaching sessions pertaining to personal finances

The initial pilot starting in 2023 is limited to 20 spots with pastors being nominated by their Regional and/or Association leader. We’re excited for future cohorts to be larger! Please let us know if you would be interested in a future cohort as a participant, mentor or coach by clicking the ‘stay connected’ button below and having a discussion with your Regional and/or Association leader to express your interest. 

Q&A with Brian Dinges

Program Manager of the Financial Well-Being of Pastors Initiative, part of VUSA Pastoral Health & Development 

What are you most excited about in this new chapter?

The opportunity to plant seeds that have the potential to change financial lives for generations. I know that sounds dramatic, but I’ve seen it happen time and time again. I’m excited to walk with pastors and their churches on their respective money journeys. Focus, determination and discipline make a big difference when it comes to managing money.

How do you envision this role serving the local church and local pastors?

The program is designed to engage pastors, boards and congregations. One thing we must do is get more comfortable talking and teaching about money. We won’t grow in areas we’re unable to talk about. Our society is woefully un/undereducated about how money works. We need to change the dynamic across VUSA. The same principles that apply to personal finance apply to church finances so there are roles and shared responsibilities for boards and congregations too. Let’s be brave and lean toward financial health believing that God has plans for you…”plans to give you hope and a future.”

What has prepared you most for this role?

Two things: 40 years of raising and launching four kids alongside my wife; and 15 years of training and coaching people regarding money. Our kids are now in their 30s and none of them live with us! So my wife and I have largely “been there and done that” when it comes to personal finances. We’ve done some things well and other things not so well, but we learned a lot along the way. I now combine my own experience with what I learn from others to help whoever cares to listen and learn. My goal in every conversation is to bring hope.

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