By: Curtis Towns, Head of CCCC Pension Plan
And now, friends, we ask you to honor those leaders who work so hard for you, who have been given the responsibility of urging and guiding you along in your obedience. Overwhelm them with appreciation and love!1 Thess. 5:12-13 MSG.
Ministry leaders carry with them a deep concern for the health and well-being of the staff and volunteers serving with them. Whether leading a church or a non-church ministry, the leader can’t help but feel a pastoral heart toward the team members.
But who takes care of the leader?
It may seem like an odd question, especially when you find out I’m about to share with you an opportunity to learn more about pension plans! More on that later. I like the plain language of the 1 Thessalonians passage from The Message. The image of overwhelming leaders with appreciation and love is a beautiful one!
We are all capable of showing appreciation to leaders (and not just during October’s Pastor Appreciation Month!), and certainly, all are responsible for some degree of our self-care. But I believe there is a special role for those with overseer responsibility for the ministry, such as the directors, elders, or deacons. Overseers should ensure those labouring in ministry are receiving appropriate care. At CCCC, we see this as part of the role of a steward.
Types of care
Care could include providing for such things as spiritual direction, counselling, vacation time/pay, sabbaticals, professional development and learning opportunities, fair compensation, and even health insurance and a pension.
If you are interested in exploring some other ways the Board can help support and improve the success of the senior leader, we recommend this blog post.
Care for those who have devoted their lives to ministry is at the very heart of why CCCC offers employee benefit plans, including group health insurance and pension. These plans enable ministry employers to provide care to their employees, including the senior leader.
The phone calls
I’d like to tell you about two different types of phone calls we receive at CCCC.
The first call
The first call we receive is certainly the most common. The call is from a ministry leader who would love to offer a pension to their staff or may be interested in a pension for themselves. The conversation almost certainly reaches a point when the leader says, “This sounds great! If it was up to me, I would join right now. But I need to find a way to bring this up with my board, since they are the ones who make the final decision.”
We do our best to equip the leader with the information they need to have this conversation with their board and offer to speak directly with the board. We encourage the leader to not be timid since this may not be something the board members would naturally think about, and they may even assume something is already in place or that it’s not important to the staff. The board will probably not be surprised to receive a recommendation from staff regarding employee benefits. In our experience, most boards would much rather hear a request for a pension than find out later that the lack of one was a contributing factor to the individual’s decision to leave the organization.
The second call
The second call we receive is less common than the first. This call is from a board member who is researching retirement savings plans and would like to bring a recommendation to the board to implement an employee pension for employees who haven’t even requested one. When I receive this type of call, the conversation with the board member who is considering the well-being of the ministry staff warms my heart. This board member also recognizes that staff health affects ministry health.
We can help
We’re not suggesting that boards that have not implemented a pension plan are uncaring—not at all! Many boards we interact with care deeply about their staff. But rather, we want to draw your attention to what can be a tricky conversation for ministry leaders to navigate.
Board members, whether a pension is present or not, take a few minutes today to consider the care provided to your ministry staff. Would the addition of a pension plan, if one is not included, be something your ministry would like to consider?
Senior leaders, don’t be afraid to ask your board for a pension plan! Consider sending them a link to this blog post. Regardless of where you are in your journey, the Member Support Team at CCCC would be thrilled to come alongside you as you discern your next steps when it comes to employee benefits, such as a pension plan.
To find out more about the CCCC Multi-Employer Pension Plan, consider joining me for our upcoming webinar, “Pension Plans and Caring for Ministry Staff in their Retirement” on November 23rd. You can register to reserve your spot here.
During this webinar, you’ll receive an overview of the common benefits and hurdles of employee pension plans and a brief introduction to the CCCC Pension Plan. You’ll also have an opportunity to ask public or anonymous questions.
Would you prefer to not wait for the webinar and to have a conversation about pensions now? Click here to request more information about the CCCC Plan and our team will reach out to you.