Profiles in Giving
Financial Challenges and the Pastor
It is a day looked forward to with great anticipation and nervousness–Call Night at the seminary. Where am I going? Who will I be serving? Will I be worthy of the calling to be a servant of Christ and His flock, leading as an undershepherd to the Great Shepherd? The announcement is made, cell phones go in search mode to research the state, town and congregation where the real work of being a pastor or deaconess is to begin in short order. There are boxes to pack, often schools to find, new friends to be made as four years of intense pastoral theological education are suddenly going to be put to the test in the “real” world of community, both in the context of the congregation and the town or city in which it is located.
Before that call is received there is the time of formation at CTS. That includes a move to Fort Wayne for a time, then once again for internship or vicarage and once again back to the seminary to finish a comprehensive education that forms the man or woman as a servant of Jesus Christ to teach the faithful, reach the lost and care for all. And, of course, that education does not come without cost. The investment in seminary education is high with many students incurring substantial debt. This can be a great burden for the pastor and his family to bear!
Through their time at the seminary students are not left on their own to sort out a financial plan. The staff in the Financial Aid Office assists each student, and for the 2014-15 academic year students are eligible for a tuition grant of up to 55%, and a great portion of that is made possible because of the generosity of you, God’s people. But even with the tuition grant, scholarships, gifts and the like there can still be a considerable shortfall in covering student expenses. Your seminary recognizes these struggles and is studying this challenge extensively thanks to a generous grant from the Lilly Foundation.
The question is what can you do to help your current and future pastors NOW? Certainly prayers are needed both for the pastors and to open hearts and minds for action today by power of the Holy Spirit. You can consider TODAY how you can help. Please, prayerfully contemplate how your financial assistance might ease this burden: it is a problem that can be solved! Imagine if all of our Synod’s 2,300,000 members provided just $2 per week above and beyond their support for their congregations what a difference that would make.