Over the past five years, I’ve watched as the lives of both theological students and pastoral leaders have been transformed by a combination of financial support and equipping for financial leadership. I have seen the power of leaders learning to have honest, missional conversations about money with both faculty and congregational leaders. It really does change everything.
It is worth remembering that some of the most hopeful impacts in addressing economic challenges have come from partnerships. We believe that there are two essential partnerships that have to be active and healthy for this work to continue: the partnership of the pastoral leader and the congregation, and the partnership of the equipping body (theological school) and the ordaining body (church).
Chris Coble from the Lilly Endowment reminds us that “lives of extraordinary service require systems of extraordinary support.” Theological schools and church systems are working earnestly at this challenge, finding ways to partner in the work of financially supporting and empowering Christian leaders along a continuum from calling to equipping to leading. None of the institutions can be successful alone. Collaboration leads to a future in which vocation is less often stymied by financial pressure, and where Church leaders can become confident, missional financial leaders and partners.