We often speak of the many dimensions of wellness in our lives – spiritual, intellectual, emotional, social and physical, for instance. Financial well-being is another vital component in our endeavor to live well. The ELCA will focus on this concept in the months and years ahead as we take the next steps to assist rostered leaders and congregations in enhancing their financial acumen and preparedness.
Recent national surveys have pointed to the lack of financial preparedness by all age groups in all walks of life:
- In a well-publicized Federal Reserve study, nearly half of the respondents reported that they would have a difficult time paying for a $400 emergency expense.
- From the same study, nearly one-third of working-age respondents reported having no retirement savings.
The issue may be magnified for rostered ministers. You have given graciously of your time and talent, yet financial treasure has not always been returned to you. You are well-versed in Scripture, although perhaps less conversant in financial matters.
Together, we hope to change that. The ELCA is embarking on “Resourceful Servants,” an initiative to encourage habits that strengthen and sustain individual and congregational financial wellness and growth. We will be introducing an array of financial resources for your use. We will offer special pilot programs on saving for emergency situations as well as saving for retirement, and our programs promise to kick-start your savings efforts. We will also introduce personal financial counseling and congregational training.
Supporting us financially in these efforts are our church partners, the Mission Investment Fund and the employees and trustees of Portico Benefit Services. The ELCA Federal Credit Union and Lutheran Social Service Financial Counseling are implementation partners. A generous grant from the Lilly Endowment also makes this initiative possible.
I invite you to make full use of these new financial tools and programs:
- Your first stop can be to our website, resourcefulservants.org, where you can complete your personal financial wellness assessment.
- From there, you may learn more about and enroll in our two new savings programs designed for rostered ministers.
It is our hope that enhanced financial well-being will indeed contribute to living well.
The Rev. Elizabeth Eaton
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America