Blessings Flow: C2FM Gains Momentum
The Clergy and Church Financial Ministry – C2FM – is providing a new level of educational and financial resources in support of Missouri’s pastors and congregations. Two recent developments affirm the progress and value of the program:
Missouri donors have responded to the Lilly Endowment matching challenge with nearly $400,000 in donations that will result in $800,000 in direct aid for pastors and pastor families including new scholarships for seminary students, debt relief, emergency assistance, and incentives for better money management that will build stronger leaders, more secure families, and more effective congregational leadership.
In December the Missouri United Methodist Foundation received a second grant from the Lilly Endowment of more than $600,000 to continue and expand the C2FM program over the next three years.
“The outpouring of gifts and the Phase II grant are wonderful affirmations of the C2FM program and the positive impact it is having in support of Missouri’s UM pastors,” Foundation President David Atkins said. “The support and leadership of the Foundation Board of Trustees and many other generous donors, along with our outstanding C2FM director, Chris Bouchard, and his coaching staff have made this possible.”
Bouchard is quick to point to impact. “More than 200 pastors have used C2FM services, and I receive thank you notes almost every week from pastors who express a renewed sense of calling and simple relief in having a supportive coach with which to work,” Bouchard shares. His collection of pastor testimonials includes:
“I prayed about it, went through the C2FM application process and amazing things happened ... Getting a plan, preaching not just about giving but training and educating my congregation so they can see they’re not alone and that there is hope...”
“C2FM just helped our family in terms of getting over that hump of becoming debt free ... I feel so comfortable and able to offer more hope from the pulpit ... and especially to a lot of the young members ... who are also struggling...”
“I feel as if a great cloud has been lifted.”
C2FM is part of the National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders started by the Lilly Endowment. The initiative supports a variety of religious organizations across the nation as they address the financial and economic challenges that can impair the ability of pastors to lead congregations effectively.
“Pastors, especially those just beginning in ministry, accept low salaries as part of their commitment to God and to church. Many enter ministry with significant debt from their undergraduate and seminary years and often have little financial resiliency when financial emergencies arise,” said Dr. Christopher L. Coble, vice president for religion at the Endowment.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family – J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli - through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly & Company. The Endowment exists to support the causes of religion, education and community development. Lilly Endowment’s religion grant-making is designed to deepen and enrich the religious lives of American Christians. It does this largely through initiatives to enhance and sustain the quality of ministry in American congregations and parishes.
To access C2FM resources visit the Foundation website at www.mumf.org or contact Chris Bouchard at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-268-4440. Donors can make gifts securely online at www.mumf.org/c2fm/meet-the-match or by calling the Foundation office at 800-332-8238.