Especially on the heels of a year known for pervasive economic challenges, the findings of a new movement-wide survey of 631 ministers in the Church of God have proven most encouraging. When compared with an initial study that led to the launch of the Clergy Advocacy & Resource Effort in 2015, the results of a 2021 follow-up survey reveal widespread improvement in the financial condition of Church of God pastors.

Though the relationship between the role of CARE in the financial health of Church of God pastors is more comparative than causal, the extensive reach and coverage of CARE awareness, guidance, and direct support cannot be overlooked. Data collected in the 2021 survey suggests several conclusions demonstrating the positive impact CARE has had on the Movement.

For example, younger respondents generally indicated they were more likely to budget their personal finances, save for emergencies, reduce debt, and invest in retirement. Compared to pastors who hadn’t participated in a CARE cohort, CARE pastors were more likely to communicate an optimistic outlook concerning their financial well-being. Since the 2015 survey, such pastors were less likely to express uncertainty over “generating sufficient income to pay bills and to afford a reasonable level of comfort,” and the ability to “afford a home.”

Since the financial health of a pastor is known to directly affect his or her ability to remain in ministry for the long haul, the following outcome of the ministries of CARE is especially important. Consider that pastors who express uncertainty about whether or not they will continue in ministry also do not budge their personal finances, do not have an emergency fund, and have credit card debt at or above the national average, and have high educational debt. As CARE has striven to help pastors change these disturbing trends, survey results suggest that CARE has also had an effect on pastoral longevity in the Movement.

CARE, which offers finance and compensation coaching with pastors individually and church boards/finance committees, has developed a track record of tangible impact since its inception. So far, the program has provided varying forms of coaching for nearly 400 pastors, offered financial assistant grants to early-career pastors, and provided compensation structure coaching to just under 100 church boards. In total, over a million dollars has been invested in our pastors toward educational debt relief and retirement account assistance.

Check out the data for yourself—and see the incredible impact CARE continues to have on the shepherds of our movement:

Learn more about CARE—a partnership between Church of God Ministries and Servant Solutions—at www.jesusisthesubject.org/care.

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