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PC(USA) Benefits Plan offers flexibility for 21st century church leaders

1001 New Worshiping Communities webinar highlights Board of Pensions options

by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — Sean Chow, 1001 New Worshiping Communities west region associate, will host a two-part webinar discussion on Facebook about the Benefits Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) this Friday at 9 a.m. ET. Highlights of the conversation include the flexibility and menu options offered to 1001 NWC leaders.

Presbyterian Board of Pensions Senior Church Consultant the Rev. Dr. Doug Portz joins Chow in part one to outline benefits available through menu options. In part two they discuss eligibility requirements for NWC leaders.

The benefits available through the Board of Pensions to 1001 leaders — in what is essentially an a la carte approach — are the same high-quality benefits available to other employees of the church, including ministers. Medical and death and disability coverage and retirement benefits, including the Pension Plan and a Retirement Savings Plan, or 403(b)(9), as well as optional benefits, including dental and supplemental death insurance, are available to eligible new worshiping community leaders who are either:

  • “Hired” by Presbytery (as an organizing pastor, for example)
  • In a ministry validated by the Presbytery and sponsored by partner churches or a PC(USA)-affiliated organization
  • Self-employed and validated by a Presbytery

Benefits eligibility for NWC leaders depends on their role and the number of hours worked each week. Chow thinks it’s important for NWC leaders to know about the flexible Benefits Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

“I think leaders in the movement will be reassured to hear they’re not alone,” he says, “that they have a concerned and flexible partner in the Board of Pensions.”

Portz acknowledges the Board can’t solve the complex challenge of how to fund the new ministries in the 1001 movement. But they are thinking about and working on the benefit needs of Presbyterian leaders in new worshiping communities because of their belief that all church leaders and workers need just compensation and benefits.

“The Board of Pensions is called to help, to be a partner with NWC leaders in a diversity of settings,” says Portz. “We understand the ‘one size fits all’ approach to benefits doesn’t work for the 21st century church.”

“As we live into the future together, one of the most important things to know is how values-driven and cost competitive the PC(USA) benefits plan is — especially the medical plan,” he said. “We want to do our part to support the health and vitality of NWC leaders and the faith communities they lead.”


The 1001 movement was approved by the 220th General Assembly (2012) to create 1,001 new worshiping communities by 2022. Currently there are more than 400 active new worshiping communities across the country.

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