Jennifer L. Sanborn, program director of In Support of Excellence—American Baptist Home Mission Societies’ (ABHMS) financial-literacy program for clergy and lay leaders—believes that Jesus’ words about money show that use of financial resources is connected to loving God, neighbor and self.
“While there are many educational programs that can provide practical guidance about financial management,” she says, “only an organization like ABHMS will tackle the spiritual dimension of these questions.”
Sanborn understands this situation firsthand. A coach trained by Clergy Leadership Institute, Hillsboro, Ore., she has served not only as program leader at a large, well-resourced church but also as pastor of a small, financially struggling church and in Admissions at Hartford (Conn.) Seminary. In addition, she is the daughter and granddaughter of American Baptist pastors.
While her parents possessed graduate-level education and professional church positions, she says, they struggled to make ends meet.
Says Sanborn: “Working with pastors and congregations to provide practical tools and to encourage understanding that caring for their needs is a way of putting their own oxygen mask on first—thus enabling healthy, sustainable generosity—feels like a call to intergenerational healing as well as meaningful service to the leadership of clergy in our present day.”