When Southern Baptist pastors and their wives commit their lives to ministry, they dedicate years to serving their communities physically and spiritually. There comes a time, though, for every career to end, and pastoral ministry is no different. Many pastors serve in small, rural churches that can’t afford to contribute to a retirement fund outside of their basic salary. So what does a rural pastor's life look like after retirement?
This is where Mission:Dignity comes in.
Since 1918, Mission:Dignity, a ministry of GuideStone Financial Resources, has stepped in for these pastors. Mission:Dignity provides financial assistance to retired Southern Baptist ministers, workers, and their widows. Many of them served faithfully and even worked extra jobs to make ends meet, but are now struggling to meet basic needs in retirement.
Ms. Peggy B., the widow of an Arkansas pastor, expressed her gratitude, “First, I thank God for saving me. Second, for a wonderful husband. He has been gone six years now, and I miss him. Then Mission:Dignity for this help, keeping me in a nice apartment and paying my bills and medicine. For the people who make this possible, I thank you.”
Through donations from Southern Baptists like you, Mission:Dignity is able to provide assistance for 1,800 former ministers and minister’s widows so they can continue living and serving in their communities.
Many don’t even know this service exists. You can help by spreading the word, or you can nominate a qualifying minister or encourage them to apply themselves. Applicants and nominees must:
Be 65 or older and retired
Have served a minimum of 10 years of paid service with a Southern Baptist church, agency or institution, or have been married to someone in a ministerial position for 10 or more years during the time of their service
Meet the following financial requirements (income limits are based on federal poverty guidelines and are adjusted each year.):
For 2019, income cannot exceed $2,082 a month for a single person or $2,820 a month for a couple
Must own less than $30,000 in assets, excluding home
Re-qualify every two years
An applicant must then complete the Application for Financial Assistance (pdf) and return it to the address on the form. Applicants can also request an application by calling 1-877-888-9409 or sending an email with their name and mailing address.
If you would like to donate to Mission:Dignity in order to help those in need, click here to learn how to do so.
*A committee of trustees reviews and makes a final determination of acceptance or decline for any application that does not meet the guidelines.