GREENWOOD VILLAGE, COLORADO: During the Christmas season last year, Methodists Helping Methodists was asked to build programming to assist churches with their finances. During this process, we discovered that church leaders, especially appointed pastors, were experiencing a level of stress that prevented them from attending training about financial stewardship. One pastor is quoted saying “Trauma. Burnout. Exhaustion. Early Retirement. I just want this pandemic to end!” This was a common theme among many pastors. Nearly two years of COVID-19 shutdowns had taken a heavy toll on our pastors. We listened and decided that it wasn’t the time for workshops about financial stewardship. Instead, we chose to carve out part of the yearly budget to help pastors cope with stress.
Methodists Helping Methodists Foundation would pay active clergy up to $250 each for time spent with a qualified counselor or coach, or a program focusing on renewal. We opted to forego a list of approved providers or programs; the pastors could choose what was best for their specific needs. There were no forms to fill out or goals to write. All they needed to provide was an invoice or receipt to allow for quick payments. It was important to us that we provide a seamless process for them to receive help during such a demanding time.
Participating pastors were quoted saying the following:
- “I was struggling so much, and it’s been such an outlet for my grief. I want to be able to share that experience with other people.”
- “Having a little extra to pay for a few more counseling sessions is a wonderful gift.”
- “With your support I can continue counseling when I thought I would have to pause for a financial break.”
- “Wow! This is such a great offer. I have just signed up for a retreat and was not sure how to pay for it.”
- “Thank you for your grace and support for the $250 as we continue to navigate these Covid waters.”
We are pleased to report that 58 pastors received up to $250 each for a total of $13,445.60! We hope this small gift made a lasting impact and look forward to easing the stress of financial burdens in future.