FLOURISHing in Faith and Finance

3 John 1:2 Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul. (NSRV)

“FLOURISH!” –verb: grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way. Flourish is both an action and a result that comes from laying the right foundation. To “flourish” is our desire for every clergy person serving the Christian Church in Indiana. It is also God’s desire for us as well. Yet, various financial challenges often limit the ability of our clergy to do so. Whether faced with high educational debt, inadequate healthcare, or limited salary, many clergy in our region face financial challenges while still working to honor their call.

In an effort to alleviate some of the economic challenges facing pastors, the Christian Church in Indiana, in partnership with Lilly Endowment Inc., created the FLOURISH! Program. Through this program, clergy and congregations have found the education they need to grow their financial base through our Financial Literacy Academy. In addition, through the Financial Relief and Compensation Support Grants, clergy have received direct financial resources to assist clergy in reducing debt, funding retirement, supplementing healthcare needs.

Between 2019 and 2022, a total of 35 Financial Relief Grants (for individuals) and 1 Compensation Support Grant (for congregations) were awarded. Following the grantee selection, pastors enter into an educational portion of the grant which is a two year process. The first cohort of grantees completed their education requirements in late 2020, the second cohort in 2021, and the third cohort completed their requirements in 2022. This is in addition to the 42 grants distributed between 2016 and 2018. Three Indiana Disciples pastors in their first five years of ministry are currently participating in Pension Fund’s Excellence in Ministry Program in partnership with FLOURISH! Indiana pastor participation is sponsored by the FLOURISH! Program.

The Financial Relief Grant application process was open to commissioned and ordained clergy with standing through the Christian Church in Indiana. All Indiana Disciples congregations were welcomed to apply for the Compensation Support Grant. Our goal is to help develop and support healthy clergy who provide bold and confident leadership to build strong churches, who are a beacon of hope to their community and the world. The Financial Literacy Academy was offered from 2016 through 2022 and available to all clergy and church leadership within the Christian Church in Indiana regardless of grant status. Additional sessions will be offered again in 2024.

Supplemental Grants

The Christian Church in Indiana, in partnership with Lilly Endowment Inc., is intentionally focused on
strengthening congregations and clergy in Indiana. Supplemental grant funds will continue to support the
pastoral leaders of our congregations, particularly pastors and congregations whose financial challenges have been exacerbated by the pandemic and/or made more visible during the past two years. Supplemental Grants will provide additional funds for previous FLOURISH! grantees, particularly to alleviate some of the financial impact on those hit hardest by the pandemic. Applicants must be serving as congregational pastors or in search and call, have standing within the Christian Church in Indiana, and have completed the FLOURISH! Program.

Grants are expected to be $2,000 to $6,000 but may vary depending on number of successful applications. Awards will not include an additional tax offset and are subject to income tax. Eight applications were received in 2022 and eight grants were awarded. Grants will be available again in 2023 and 2024.

Financial Relief Grants

Financial Relief Grants are awarded directly to clergy for the purposes of debt relief, medical costs, and/or retirement planning. Grantees must complete two years of Financial Literacy Academy sessions, peer group meetings, and meeting with a financial advisor before grant funds are released.

2021 Financial Relief Grant Applications were due February 25, 2021. Grants have been awarded to the new cohort of clergy grantees. The guidelines, budget worksheet, and tax notice are posted below for reference by any interested parties, including Financial Relief grantees.

Compensation Support Grant Guidelines

The Compensation Support Grant Guidelines are linked below for reference by any interested parties, including current Comp Support grantees. Compensation Support Grants were last offered in 2020. Funds for Compensation Support Grants must be matched by the congregation awarded the grant. Funds are distributed at year end on a laddered schedule.

FLOURISH! Compensation Support Grant guidelines

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