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Addressing long-term economic challenges

This grant will provide funds up to $10,000 to the grant recipient and requires activities which will take place over a one-year grant period. These efforts shall work together to relieve financial burdens which impact the effectiveness of pastoral leaders.

Apply to recieve the Ministerial Excellence Fund Grant here
Before you begin filling out the application, gather the information on this checklist:

  • General personal information including ministry job history
  • Current church address, faith group affiliations, weekly attendance and offering totals and annual budget total
  • Individual and spousal salary and benefits details
  • Financial information including balances for all bank accounts, loans and credit card accounts
  • Retirement account information
  • Trusted congregational advocate information - find more information here

Eligibility Requirements - Please note that Ministerial Excellence Fund grants are only available to congregational ministers affiliated with CBF. Due to the scope and limitations of the grant, non-congregational ministers are not eligible to apply.

Criteria for review and award - Applications will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Level of active engagement with CBF
  • Affirmation of all required covenant activities
  • Financial need related to CBF primary focus areas: debt, health benefits and retirement benefits

Financial Advisor - Every qualified applicant for the Ministerial Excellence Initiative will receive a consultation from a certified financial advisor. An advisor will help to define goals and identify appropriate financial processes. The objective is to provide a holistic approach to financial education and positive financial choices. As well as:

  • Educate- on current status and determine necessary steps
  • Plan- for retirement, investment, education, estate, insurance
  • Create-goals based on the plans put in place specific to individual financial situation
  • Manage- achieve goals through proper management of finances.

Coaching - Each grant recipient will be connected with a certified coach. They will meet eight times within one grant period. The coach will walk alongside each grantee as they consider the financial planning recommendations, and progress through the teaching resources. Coaching through the Ministerial Excellence Fund grant program will be the best of all that coaching is, including:

  • Completely confidential
  • Compassionate
  • Appreciative
  • Affirming
  • Non-judgmental
  • No advice giving

Coaching is about enhancing the skills, resources, and creativity you already have in a safe and challenging environment. It is a personalized approach, tailored to your specific needs and goals. Learn more about MEF coaching here

Covenant Agreement - Grantees will create an individualized covenant among themselves, selected trusted congregational advocate(s) and CBF. Grant recipients will covenant to complete the grant activities. The trusted congregational advocate(s) will covenant to maintain confidentiality and provide support to the grantee. CBF will covenant confidentiality, support, training and guidance so that each grantee may better serve his/her family and congregation. The congregation will be asked to provide assistance for an initial financial advisor consultation, four coaching sessions and a travel stipend to the Lake Institute training courses. Compensated time off will be expected. Other assistance may be provided such as matching gifts or other support.

Learn more about the MEF Covenant Agreement here

Trusted Congregational Advocate - The trusted congregational advocate is an individual(s) within the congregation chosen to walk alongside the pastoral leader (grant recipient) as an advocate and supporter. In most cases, an advocate is comprised of one, but no more than three trustworthy individuals. The pastoral leader selects an advocate(s) based on the level of comfort they feel with confiding their personal information. The trusted congregational advocate(s) is put in place at Lilly Endowment, Inc.'s insistence to be the pastoral leaders' sounding board. There will be opportunities for the trusted congregational advocate to speak on behalf of the pastoral leader as needed. In these instances, it is good for the trusted congregational advocate to have some knowledge of the patoral leader's circumstances so they can assist in seeking out others within the church that may be able to provide ideas for assistance and lend advice. 

Learn more about the role of the trusted congregational advocate here

Questions or comments? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions and/or email mei@cbf.net.  

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