ABHMS seeks applicants for 2021 ‘In Support of Excellence’ cohort

VALLEY FORGE, PA (8/31/20)—American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) is seeking American Baptist pastors to apply to its 2021 “In Support of Excellence” (ISOE) pastors financial-empowerment cohort to begin meeting in January 2021. The application deadline is Oct. 9, 2020.

ABHMS has chosen to partner with pastors of excellence in populations identified in research as being structurally disadvantaged in financial matters from compensation to saving for retirement or other life goals. Priority consideration will be given to these applicants:

  • women pastors,
  • pastors of diverse cultural and ethnic identities and
  • pastors whose roles have been decreased from full-time to less than full-time.

Each month, ISOE pastors will participate in virtual offerings:

  • a content-based session to inspire new thinking,
  • a reflection session with an identity-based cohort to create new connections and
  • a tool or resource session to shape new financial practices.

Ongoing communication and support will be hosted on ABHMS’ ministrElife social media platform.

In addition, ISOE pastors may:

  • access financial planning services from MMBB (for members) or another planning/coaching entity (for MMBB nonmembers);
  • apply for a debt-relief grant to alleviate the burden of student loans, medical debt or other forms of consumer debt; and
  • apply for a financial-education grant to support the congregation’s continued learning about faith and finance.

Key dates

  • Application period opens: Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020.
  • Application deadline: Friday, Oct. 9, 2020; please note that executive minister and lay leader letters of recommendation are expected by the same deadline.
  • Application review period: Oct. 9-Nov. 9, 2020.
  • Orientation and virtual retreat: Thursday, Jan. 7 and Friday, Jan. 8.

Sessions will be held at times suitable for all U.S. time zones, and with ample rest/reflection time between Zoom sessions.

The program will conclude in November 2021 with an in-person gathering, if safe to do so, at the Leadership and Mission Building in King of Prussia, Pa.

ABHMS has been generously supported by two grants from the Lilly Endowment Inc. as part of the National Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Pastoral Leaders. All expenses for those participating in the program are supported by Lilly Endowment Inc.


To be eligible to participate in ISOE, an applicant must be an American Baptist pastor of an American Baptist church, submit a reference from the appropriate regional executive minister and a congregational lay leader, and demonstrate evidence of the following:

  • pastoral excellence;
  • financial challenges;
  • capacity to partner with lay leaders in managing church finances and envisioning financial possibility;
  • potential for increased congregational generosity and stewardship, including providing toward the Ministerial Excellence Fund grant pool and
  • willingness to commit to full program participation and requirements.

Applicants will receive either a formal invitation to participate in one of the 2021 cohorts or will be provided links to valuable online resources.

For more information, contact Jennifer Sanborn, ISOE’s program director, at jennifer.sanborn@abhms.org.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.

American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.