JEFFERSON CITY – Irvin Brooks always valued the Cooperative Program for its support of missions throughout the world. But when the long-time Missouri Baptist pastor retired early with health complications, he became the recipient of benefits partially funded by CP.
Brooks pastored three MBC churches over a span of 27 years, and still serves as interim pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Saint Mary, Mo. But when a variety of health issues prevented him from continuing to serve full-time in the ministry, he discovered that the Cooperative Program provides disability assistance and retirement benefits to Missouri Baptist pastors.
“This has been such a blessing,” he says. “I wasn’t even aware of the disability insurance until Gene Foster (of the MBC) notified me. In fact, I’m not sure many pastors know about all the benefits available to them and paid for by the Cooperative Program.”
Brooks is now up to speed on this simple truth: Whenever Missouri Baptists give through the Cooperative Program, they’re doing more than supporting missions. They are providing their pastors with valuable benefits.
These include retirement, life insurance, and disability benefits.*
It’s just one of the ways CP comes back to the local church.
Thanks to CP, the Missouri Baptist Convention, in partnership with the Southern Baptist Convention’s GuideStone Financial Resources, offers these benefits at no additional cost to pastors or churches.
Church Retirement Plan
When a pastor (or the local church on his behalf) contributes any amount to GuideStone’s Church Retirement Plan, the MBC provides life insurance that pays up to $100,000 in survivor benefits based on the pastor’s age – at no additional cost.
In addition, the MBC provides disability insurance that pays up to $500 per month if the pastor becomes disabled – again, at no additional charge.
Saving more for retirement pays even bigger benefits. For example, when a pastor (or the local church on his behalf) contributes $105 per month to the Church Retirement Plan, the MBC chips in $17.50 per month. The MBC matches less per month for retirement contributions of $53 – $104.
In all, the MBC invests $375,000 per year in benefits to Missouri Baptist ministers. That’s $144,000 annually in disability insurance and $231,000 annually in matching retirement funds.
Maybe that’s why 1,152 Missouri Baptist ministers take part in the Church Retirement Plan – and why many more should.
In addition, MBC benefits specialist Gene Foster travels the state working with church finance committees, personnel committees, pastor search committees and others to provide counsel on salary and benefit options, employee tax status, charitable contributions, designated giving, constitutions and bylaws, compensation planning, retirement planning, and benefits to ministers’ widows.
Foster also works with associations to conduct seminars on payroll taxes, retirement planning medical benefits and the Affordable Care Act, and compensation planning.
The MBC provides all of these benefits to Missouri Baptist ministers, including directors of missions, as a result of MBC churches participating in the Cooperation Program.
For pastors like Irvin Brooks, it’s one way CP enables them to continue in ministry, even after they retire or experience medical setbacks.
(* An MBC church must contribute an average of $35 / month to CP in order to qualify for these benefits.)