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Leadership Development

Financial Well-Being

Financial Well-Being



Resources for clergy and congregations

The following programs and resources are funded in part by the Lilly Endowment’s grant to the Dakotas-Minnesota Area around the national initiative to address “Economic Challenges Facing our Pastoral Leaders”. The holistic approach to address these challenges includes opportunities and grants primarily focused on improving personal financial well-being, but also to strengthen church financial health and grow a culture of generosity.

Free Financial Education materials for clergy: All clergy under appointment may obtain free financial educational materials (up to $150 value). 

Financial Ministry grants for churches: Your church may apply for a financial ministry grant to offer individuals financial education in your church and community.

Investing in Leaders Resource Grant: The grant offers up to $5000 towards education debt reduction. Improving financial well-being can best be achieved by exploring one’s total financial health, not simply by addressing one area of debt. The Investing in Leaders granting opportunity extends beyond the $5000 education debt reduction grant and seeks to empower you by investing in you, connecting you to the knowledge, skills, and resources you need to explore, set, and achieve goals for financial health.

Nonprofit Church Leadership certificate program for clergy: Clergy may apply for this year-long, online graduate certificate program designed to increase competencies in leadership. Applications and supporting endorsements, are due May 15, 2020 to begin in July 2020. Applicants will need to ask the Leadership Team of their church to fill out this Endorsement of Participation

  • View the 2020-2021 program year calendar here.
  • See the description of the certificate program here.
  • See summaries of the applied projects presented by the participating pastors in the 2018-2019 cohort here.
  • View the summaries of the 2019-2020 cohort here

Church Financial Wellness Assessment Tool: Take this 10-question assessment developed by Rev. Randy Koppen. Contact him directly with questions or to learn some of his best practices in strengthening your church’s financial health.

Ministerial Student Aid Resources: The Dakotas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, the Dakotas United Methodist Foundation and GBHEM offer student aid for certified candidates through Seminary and Course of Study Loan/Grants, Merit Scholarships, and Excellence in Clergy Leadership Scholarships, as well as debt reduction relief for new clergy within the conference.

Clergy Benefits Academy and revitup! Scholarship funds are available to assist clergy in attending one of these informative events in Denver, CO in November 2020. Sponsored by Wespath, more information can be found here. For information on scholarships, contact Diane Owen or Leana Stunes, Conference Benefits Officer.

EY Financial Services provides access at no charge to a financial planner if you are enrolled. Obtain access to the helpful webinar, “Navigating Finances in Turbulent Times”. Explore EY Financial Planning Services.

Financial Counseling, in one or more virtual sessions to provide triage or urgent guidance with current financial challenges, can be arranged with financial counselor, Sarah Swantner, (trained to assist with the emotional and technical challenges of financial distress) at no charge, for up to six sessions. Call Sarah Swantner, certified financial counselor and planner with Kahler Financial Group, directly at 605-343-1400, ext 113, or e-mail her. (Sarah has been working with several Dakotas clergy around their financial needs and participated in the Higher Ground retreat.) For more information about financial counseling or connecting with a financial counselor, call Diane Owen, Area Director of Financial Health and Well-being, at 507-244-0311, or e-mail.

LSS Financial Services provides a wide variety of financial resources at no charge and counseling at $30. Center for Financial Services with LSS can be found here.

"Money Matters" e-newsletter

Money Matters Jpeg

To better provide you with timely and helpful resources about money matters, the "Money Matters" quarterly e-newsletter is shared with all clergy in the Dakotas and Minnesota Annual Conferences. The purpose of the e-newsletter is to offer information about opportunities and resources that could help clergy's financial health and well-being. Some of these resources apply to only clergy, and some are financial opportunities for the local church.  

Winter 2019 edition | Spring 2019 edition |  Summer 2019 edition | Fall 2019 
Winter 2020 edition  | Spring 2020 edition |


To learn more about any of the resources or grants on this page, contact Diane Owen, the DK-MN Area Lilly Grant program director.  You may also call her at (612) 230-2169.


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