BGCT receives $1 million grant from Lilly to help pastors

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DALLAS—The Baptist General Convention of Texas received a $1 million implementation grant from the Lilly Endowment to participate in its national initiative to address economic challenges facing pastoral leaders.

Through the grant, the BGCT will create a Center for Ministerial Excellence, which will conduct regional financial retreats for pastors and laity, award financial grants of up to $5,000 to pastors facing economic challenges and recruit a statewide network of financial planners to help Texas Baptist pastors seeking financial advice.  

“As a pastor, I am well aware that financial struggles can impact a pastor’s family and their church,” said Steve Vernon, BGCT associate executive director. “The support the grant makes available to pastors will have far-reaching benefits for our Texas Baptist family and encourage our pastors in their fulfillment of the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.”

Lilly Endowment made a $50,000 planning grant to the BGCT in early 2016 to conduct research and provide resources to help church leaders prepare an implementation grant for the initiative.

“From the research, we learned that our pastors are struggling most with low salary, no medical insurance and a lack of retirement savings,” Vernon said.

The purpose of the Lilly Endowment’s initiative is to support national and state church-related organizations in developing new programs or strengthening existing programs that reduce or alleviate key financial pressures inhibiting effective pastors and to improve the financial literacy and management skills of pastoral leaders.

“We are grateful to Lilly Endowment for this partnership and entrustment in the stewardship of their funds. The grant will provide opportunities for us to encourage and serve our pastors and churches,” said Bill Tillman, director of the BGCT Center for Ministerial Excellence.

For more information, call (888) 244-9400.


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