July - August 2016

By Don Walter
From his column A Minute With Don


When Jesus promised the coming of the Holy Spirit, He used a word often translated as “advocate.”

Everybody needs an advocate—someone who has our back, who pleads our case. From our initial breath to our last, life is better when others come alongside us, look out for our interests, and work for our good.

In a recent conversation among members of the Board of Pensions and Benefits USA, one of the pastors shared the importance of advocacy in his own life. In particular, he spoke of the challenge ministers face when talking with church boards about financial matters, such as their own compensation, benefits, and retirement. Many hesitate to do so because it may appear they are being self-centered or greedy. He went on to say that he is fortunate to be blessed with individuals in his local church who are his advocates. A wonderful discussion followed, and an idea was born.

Life is better when others come alongside us, look out for our interests, and work for our good.

Almost every pastor, if asked the question, “Who is your advocate?” can think of one or more people in who they can count on for encouragement, a listening ear, and support. With this in mind, we are working to create a list of pastors’ advocates. It begins with ministers voluntarily sharing the name/contact information for his or her advocate. After this, we will contact the advocate to request permission to provide periodic updates of information about pastoral compensation, insurance, taxes, and retirement. If the advocate agrees to participate, we will add them to the subscription lists for our eNews and Quarterly. We will not inundate them with useless materials. Also, names of advocates are confidential between the minister, the advocate, and P&B USA. They will not be shared or used for any purpose other than those outlined above.

Being a pastor’s advocate isn’t a formal position. An advocate is simply a person upon whom God has laid the blessed burden of looking out for the wellbeing of the local shepherd. If you’re a layperson reading this, and you have this burden on your soul, you can sign up. If you’re a pastor, and want to provide us a name—or several names, please do.

The process is simple. Whether you’re a pastor or someone who wants to be an advocate, you can register at http://pbusa.org/advocate.

Thanks for taking time to learn more about pastoral advocacy. We pray it will make a difference in the lives of our ministers and their congregations.

Don Walter is director of Pensions and Benefits for the Church of the Nazarene.

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