In Support of Excellence

American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) has provided financial education and debt-relief grants to pastors since 2016, supporting clergy as they take steps toward financial well-being and assist members of their congregations in the same. This work, funded by three grants from the Lilly Endowment Inc., has been most visible as In Support of Excellence (ISOE).

ISOE pastors explore the personal, the pastoral and the prophetic dimensions of money, accessing tools and resources, considering money in new ways, and expanding the financial conversations of their congregations and communities.

Initially offered via webinars, ISOE developed into an in-person cohort experience in 2019; then, through the necessity of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, program leaders adapted the best of both of these models into a highly-personalized, virtual cohort experience in which participants learn and reflect with seasoned leaders and trusted colleagues.

Compelled by heightened awareness of populations who are structurally disadvantaged in financial matters from compensation to saving for retirement or other life goals, ABHMS chose in 2021 to serve the following:

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

For 2022 and beyond, ISOE is again being reshaped. The tried-and-tested resources identified as being most valuable for financial learning and leading are being designed into a learning track in the new Center for Continuous Learning, creating an even more accessible pathway to financial learning. Resources are available for clergy, lay leaders and ministers of all forms.

For more information, contact Jennifer Sanborn, ISOE’s program director, at