INDIANAPOLIS – In a recent report to the Lilly Endowment, leaders of the Rejuvenate project, made possible by the endowment, stated it has had a successful two years of existence helping both pastors and their congregations come to grips with personal indebtedness and destroying the taboos about talking to churches about money. I

In the long run, Rejuvenate will continue to bring pastors out of debt, educate clergy families and congregations on personal financial management and give church members a new understanding of how clergy indebtedness can directly contribute to their congregation’s finances.

In her recent report to the Lilly Endowment, the Rev. Michelle Cobb, director of Rejuvenate said, “Initially we focused on providing educational opportunities to clergy, clergy spouses and congregations that focused on stewardship education, financial management and planning.

“We were also able to award 319 grants totaling more than $700,000 to clergy to diminish clergy education debt, to help clergy begin to make contributions to the United Methodist Pension Fund, to assist establishment of a clergy family emergency fund and to provide financial assistance to clergy who need to leave parish ministry.”

In the two years of implementation of the original grant, Rejuvenate has been able to offer 40 educational opportunities for clergy, clergy spouses and congregations.

One of the successes of the project has been the David Bell seminars. They have been attended by clergy, clergy spouses and lay teams from congregations. Many have left the seminars with action plans in place to implement what they have learned in their local church-build.

Rejuvenate will sustain the five grants that are made available to clergy. They are:

  • Clergy Education Debt Reduction Grant –assists clergy with reducing or eliminating the clergy person’s educational debt;
  • Retirement Fund Incentives’ Grant – assists clergy with contributing to the clergy person’s personal pension fund;
  • Funding for Emergencies Grant – a two-tier grant that assists clergy with creating an emergency fund and also provides District Superintendents with funds to assist clergy who are facing financial crises that will impede their ability to carry out effective ministry;
  • Called Anew Grant – assists clergy to exit active ministry with dignity and financial stability;
  • Seminarian Grant, which is a new grant effective January 2011 that assists seminarians by covering the cost of tuition and books.

For more information about Rejuvenate and its financial programs, visit or call Michelle Cobb at 317-924-1321.

Together photo.

Lynette Rice, educational specialist of the denomination’s pension board, leads a Rejuvenate pre-retirement seminar at the Indiana Conference Center in Indianapolis with 55 pastors and pastor’s spouses attending.