According to Luther Seminary, the average seminary student indebtedness is $62,000. Unlike other professions, it is more challenging for pastors and deacons to repay their student loans because of the compensation pastors and deacons receive.
Indebtedness impacts pastors and deacons in several ways:
- 52% of pastors surveyed say loans negatively impacted their standard of living.
- 30% of pastors surveyed are bi-vocational.
- 26% of pastors surveyed left ministry due to financial pressure.
- 25% of pastors surveyed pursue higher paying ministry opportunities.
- 24% of pastors surveyed postpone healthcare
The North/West Lower Michigan Synod Council has approved a plan to begin to address the burden of seminary education debt born by many of our rostered ministers–pastors and deacons and will annually award $2000 grants directly to lending institutions for educational debt to be applied to the principal of a rostered minister’s seminary student loans.
To qualify to receive a grant, pastors and deacons will be in their first 15 years of ministry, commit to serving full-time in the North/West Lower Michigan Synod for the three years following receipt of a grant, agree to participate in personal financial literacy education and/or counseling, and complete the application process on time.
For more information and to apply, please see the documents below: