As a pastor of two churches—Woods Harbour Wesleyan Church and Coastal Church (freshly planted in September 2019)—life is full for Pastor Jason Parker and his family, so health is especially important. Over the past few years, Jason and his family have partnered with their congregation to experience the Thrive Financial Initiative (TFI), focusing specifically on financial health by partnering with a team of laity to create and implement a “well-being development plan.” TFI is an initiative from Education & Clergy Development that uses funds from The Lilly Endowment to address personal financial challenges facing Wesleyan clergy. When they started the Thrive Financial initiative, the Parker family was in debt around $20,000, with little sense of how they would pay it off. Together with the “Thrive Team,” the Parkers poured over their finances, building goals and working to detail how they would achieve them. To contribute to the health of their pastoral family, the church offered finances for a raise and a bonus, tuition for educational trips, and time off for study and gatherings. Now, nearing the end of the TFI process, the Parker family have worked toward the Thrive team’s collective goals, paying down all $20,000 in debt, and are completely debt-free as they now work on the next step (building their savings fund).

Beyond the milestone, the Parkers will take with them the relationships developed with those on his team. “When I shared with this team the fact that a few weeks ago we were debt-free,” Parker reflected, “they could celebrate that fact with me because they helped me get there, that had a profound impact, and it meant more to them, because they said, ‘The time I spent investing in my pastor paid off in significant life change.’

If you are interested in learning more about the Thrive Financial Initiative from Education & Clergy Development and how it might contribute to your pastoral health, click here for more information.