Rejuvenate is no longer a project; it is now a ministry of the United Methodist Foundation of Indiana. Our offices have moved from the Indiana Conference Center to the United Methodist Foundation of Indiana at 8401 Fishers Center Drive in Fishers, Ind. The transitions of changing from being a project, to now a ministry of the foundation in which we will continue to live into for some time. Physically moving from Indianapolis to Fishers has been a seamless transition.
Although we have undergone these transitions, the commitment remains the same to clergy and congregations and that is equipping leaders to lead from a place of excellence by strengthening themselves in the areas of financial management, planning and stewardship education, a well as equipping congregations also in these same areas.
Because clergy have received little to no formal training in the areas of financial management or planning and stewardship education, Rejuvenate Ministry is committed to filling that educational gap by offering workshops facilitated by national and local leaders. We also are committed to equipping congregations with “best practices” that will release the generous nature of members for the sake of ministry and mission within and beyond the walls of congregations.
Are you financially healthy? Do you have the necessary tools to make wise financial decisions, personally and corporately, as leaders of congregations? If the answer is “no,” let Rejuvenate help you attain the tools. Visit Rejuvenate’s website at www.rejuvenateindiana.org; then click 2012 Educational Opportunities to identify and register for a workshop. New workshops are being added regularly, so visit the site frequently. Financially informed clergy and laity will lead lives that are financially unencumbered; lives that will reflect the generous nature of our generous God.
There are those who will state that clergy are not the only population experiencing a lack of financial well-being. These individuals are correct, however, the information many times overlooked or not known is that clergy, unlike other professionals, are in a unique category. Other professionals are able to enter vocations or careers that will pay lucrative salaries during a period of time. Parish ministry is not such a vocation. Clergy understand that reality. The finances of itinerant United Methodist clergy families are also impacted if the formerly employed spouse is not able to find employment in a new appointment setting.
There are others who will remind us there are laity who are also experiencing a lack of financial well-being. This statement is a true statement. Yet, clergy are unique. How? Let me list several ways.
Clergy have “dual status.” Clergy are considered to be self-employed for Social Security purposes and are also considered to be employees of the congregation that they have been appointed to serve. As employees of a congregation, clergy receive a wage that is reported on a W-2 form.
Clergy have to pay social security or self-employment taxes (currently 13.3 percent) in addition to federal and state income taxes. Clergy who live in parsonages have to pay social security taxes on the fair rental value of the parsonage, including any utilities and furnishings provided. Clergy have to pay social security taxes on the housing allowance that they receive.
Why should every leader and congregation of the Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church be concerned about clergy who are experiencing a lack of financial well-being? Several reasons are listed below:
- Financially, healthy clergy are able to lead from a position of excellence – excellence that will include their preaching and teaching boldly about financial stewardship and generosity.
- Our denomination requires elders to be seminary trained which can lead to high education debt.
- Financially, healthy clergy will lead to stronger leaders and stronger leaders will lead to stronger congregations and stronger congregations will lead to stronger communities.
Thank you for your support of the Rejuvenate Ministry of the United Methodist Foundation of Indiana.
Michelle Cobb is executive director of the Rejuvenate Ministry.