I’m always amazed by Jesus’ candor. Throughout the gospels we see Jesus unsettling people by preaching unpopular truth and calling them to radical discipleship. He didn’t shy away from conflict or controversy, like the time he rattled a group of Pharisees by condemning their unhealthy love for money. That happened while he was teaching his disciples about Kingdom stewardship – a teaching that seemed to praise the dealings of a fraudulent businessman.
If you don’t already know this parable, you can read the “Parable of the Shrewd Manager” in Luke 16:1-15. It may be a bit confusing because it seems to encourage dishonesty; but that’s not the point of the parable. Jesus told the parable to impress upon his disciples the importance of stewarding their resources wisely. For the manager in the story, that meant using his waning managerial authority to his advantage in gaining friends, so that when he lost his job, he’d have sympathetic companions to help him get back on his feet. For us, it means leveraging all we have for the sake of God’s Kingdom.
That’s why after telling the parable, Jesus commands his followers to “use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings,” (Luke 16:9). That’s the point of the parable – Kingdom stewardship. Jesus wants us to be wise stewards of the resources he’s entrusted to us, whether that be positions of authority, relationships, money, time, or talent.
For 20 years, Passion for Planting has helped church planters steward their time, talents, and treasure wisely, so they can invest more of it into relationships with people. That’s why we create free resources to help you strategize, plan and execute the hundreds of tasks associated with planting a church in an efficient manner. It’s why we created PlanterPlan, a project management tool that helps you save time by doing the right things at the right time in the right way.
In this month’s newsletter we’re highlighting several resources that will help you best steward your time, money and energy while planting a church. That way you’ll have more resources to invest into your disciple-making efforts for the sake of God’s Kingdom. Enjoy!
-Patrick Bradley, Director of Operations
June 2023 – Content
- Church Plant Budget Worksheet
- Opted Out of Social Security?
- Church Planting Residency
- Retirement Planning for Pastors
Church Plant Budget Worksheet
Most church planters don’t have a business degree. Many haven’t even taken a finance class. That’s why when it comes time to create a church planting budget, they end up wasting time and energy starting from scratch with a blank spreadsheet. That’s why we created our church plant budget worksheet. The worksheet with walk you through developing a contextualized budget for your church plant. It even does math for you, so you don’t need to waste time calculating monthly and annual totals.
If you like our budget worksheet, check out our fundraising worksheet as well. Like the budget worksheet, this template will crunch the numbers for you and help you keep track of all the funds that individuals, churches, and organizations give, or commit to give, to your church plant.
Opted Out of Social Security?
Have you opted out of social security, but now wish you hadn’t? Maybe you didn’t realize the decision also included sacrificing your Medicare eligibility in your retirement years? We know some ministers who were told in their first church employment that they didn’t have a choice in the matter, that opting out was standard employment practice at their church. Now they’re wondering what they are going to do to pay their bills and afford healthcare in their retirement years.
If you find yourself wrestling with these questions and have at least 10 years left until you retire, we have good news for you. You can still qualify for Social Security and Medicare benefits! All you need to do is get a side gig, make $6,560/year, and pay taxes on that income (see IRS guidelines). You could drive for Uber, deliver for Door Dash, sell goods online, work as a real estate agent, rent out part of your house (e.g. basement apartment) or even rent out your car.
Based upon past work experience (think of all the jobs you’ve ever had) you may already be eligible for Social Security benefits or well on your way without knowing it. To check on your eligibility status, follow the prompts at the Social Security Administration website.
Church Planting Residency
Many church planters rush into the planting process and end up expending a lot of energy to see only little fruit from their efforts. This can come from lack of preparation and planning – instead of taking the time to clarify your vision and developing a strategy to help you turn that vision into realty, you just start trying different things to attract a crowd. But you end up spinning your wheels and make little progress toward making disciples and creating community. That’s why we encourage prospective church planters like you to respect the planting process and fill up your church planting toolbox before putting your hand to the church planting plow.
Ecclesiastes 10:10 says, “If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success.” How do you sharpen your church planting ax? One great way is by participating in Passion for Planting’s Distance Church Planting Residency Program. Our 9-month training cohort allows you to stay in your local context while being equipped to plant a healthy, reproducing, disciple-making church. We’re now accepting application for our 2023-2024 cohort, which starts the first week in September. Don’t neglect your church planting preparation – Apply today!
Retirement Planning for Pastors
While ministers may not make a lot of money, the IRS tax code is written in their favor when it comes to investing for retirement. Since a lot of churches don’t have retirement packages for their staff, many ministers have been encouraged to save for retirement through a Roth IRA. However, a better option for ordained, licensed or commissioned ministers may be investing into a 403b(9) plan. That’s because unlike a Roth IRA which invests already-taxed dollars, contributions to a 403b(9) plan come out our your paycheck tax free and can be distributed to you tax free by being paid as housing allowance once you’re 59½ years old. This type of plan has the potential of saving you thousands of dollars in taxes.
Financial organization that serve clergy like Servant Solutions and Guardian Wealth Management can help you set up a 403b(9) plan. These organization love serving church planters. They will also help you develop a personal retirement strategy, free of charge, to ensure you’re capitalizing of every advantage the IRS tax code offers ministers. That way you can invest more of the resources God has entrusted to you into His Kingdom.