Lead the financial change you want to see in your community. 

As a pastor, you’re more than a leader in faith. You’re a role model, a teacher and a life coach for many. Your congregation looks to you for guidance, support and love. Among the many demands from your church, you have your own financial challenges to bear.

And that’s why we’re here to help.

At Thrivent Credit Union, we use faith-based principles to guide the financial solutions we create for our 45,000 members. We understand the unique financial needs of church leaders and we know first-hand the important role faith plays in financial decisions. Leverage resources below to begin your journey to finding financial balance and contentment.

For you and your family

For your ministry

Your financial journey

When it comes to your finances, it’s often hard to separate personal financial goals from those of your church. You want your congregation to embrace healthy financial habits, but the change you wish to see should start with you. Use these articles to help you create your own roadmap and outline your financial journey today.

  1. Find your financial baseline and set goals

    Do you know what you spent money on last week? Did your spending advance your financial goals? Did you get one step closer to paying off loans? If any of your answers were “no,” then this first article is for you.

  2. Balance spending

    If you’re struggling to pay bills on time, you don’t have a debt problem. You have a spending problem. In this second article review three critical points that will help you achieve spending goals, and ask yourself a host of key questions before you make purchases.

  3. Pay down debt and build credit

    You’ve set your financial goals. You’ve reviewed your spending. Now it’s time to tackle your debt. We know that the hardest part about paying off debt is getting started. In this article, review the four main components that will make up your plan for managing debt.

  4. Plan for the unexpected

    Obstacles are everywhere in life, including your financial journey. Even the most well-thought-out financial plans will (at some point) be put to the test. In this article, discover the 5 things you need to do to be prepared for the unexpected.

  5. Boost savings

    Can I save money while paying off my debt? The short answer is “yes.” It might seem impossible to save money when all your financial activities are focused on debt. But when you use focused tips, you can continue to boost your savings activity each month. Here, we dissect the main components of a good savings plan and show you how to enact a strategy of your own.

  6. Weave generosity into your financial plan

    Giving back is important to you and your congregation. God tells us to be generous, but it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the other financial commitments in life. Just because you’re focusing on other financial goals, doesn’t mean you should give up on giving. We can help guide your congregation to create a giving plan, track giving activity and more.

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Solutions for your children

Our children are the future. If we want to live in a world where people think intentionally about spending, saving and giving, those habits should first be embraced by our children. When it comes to teaching youth about money, use the starting points below:

For young children

One of the most important concepts to instill in our young children is the significance of saving. Don’t overthink this concept; it’s easy to teach with simple tools. For example, consider using three jars to demonstrate “spending”, “saving”, and “sharing”. Give your child an allowance and ask them to divide it among the three jars. Soon, your child will begin to see the importance of setting aside money for each purpose.

Thrivent Credit Union also has many tools to help families save together. Learn more about the TFCU Membership account and use it to better prepare your children for the coming years.

For middle-aged youth

As children grow and get busier with school and extracurricular activities, it’s important to keep simple money management skills top of mind. Ages 8 to 13 are very formative years. Consider this list of money-based games to introduce in youth groups and keep kids thinking positively and intentionally about money:

  • MoneyWise Kids
  • The Allowance Game
  • Buy it Right
  • Thrive Time
  • Monopoly Junior

For teens and college students

Once your children have a good understanding of what it means to share, save and spend with purpose, they’ll be ready for their next financial experience: opening a checking account (or payment account) and taking out a student loan. Statistics show that about 40 million Americans hold student loans. And while it’s easy to apply for and take out a loan, it’s a big decision that will most likely impact your children for years after graduation. Leverage these financial tools and resources as your children enter college and navigate their post-high school education:

  • College loan options: From loans to lines of credit to refinancing, discover the features and benefits of these student-based financial tools.

  • Budget tool: Sometimes newfound freedom leads to financial mistakes. When students use the BalanceWorks® system, they can set aside money for saving, spending and giving purposes.

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Sabbatical finances

A sabbatical is an extended period for rest and renewal and it’s a time to continue your personal journey with God. However, this time to refresh your soul doesn’t come without financial implications. Be sure to ask important questions about your finances before you commit.

Things to consider

  • Travel: Determine your length and distance of travel first. This will help set the stage for the remaining discussion about finances below.

  • Automation: Many financial institutions, including TCU, offer online banking and automatic bill pay. Be sure to set up any reoccurring payments through your bill pay function to avoid late fees or missed payments.

  • Remote banking: Depending on where you’re traveling to, your banking access may be limited. Leveraging a mobile banking app can allow you to make deposits, transfer money and track spending right from your phone.

  • Paid vs. unpaid: Will your church pay for your sabbatical? If not how much will you need to save? Now is a great time to reassess your financial goals and create a budget and plan to achieve them. Leverage tools like the BalanceWorks® system to help you set aside money for saving, spending and giving.

  • Plan for absence: How will your church handle your sabbatical? Do you have other pastors who can step in? Any there any other leaders who can help with weekday jobs? Make sure there’s a clear communication plan for the entire church.

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It’s common to relocate after retirement, either to make room in the parsonage or to help with the transition to a new minister in the church. Consider what your ideal retirement situation looks like and ask yourself these questions to get started:

  • Is renting right for you?
  • Do you already have a new community picked out?
  • Do you want to minister in other parts of the U.S. or around the world?
  • Do you see yourself traveling to new places that need you?

Educate yourself

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Matthew (6:21) says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be.” To put it simply, God wants us to be generous and he wants us to give back to those in need. But teaching generosity as a behavior is complex. Most Christians want to be generous, but lack a path to get there. Here, find resources you need to help your congregation weave giving into their everyday lives.

Create a generosity plan

When it comes to generosity, everyone needs their own personal giving plan. This is a plan that differs family to family, but that allows you to designate money to causes that matter throughout the year. Use a giving plan template to get started, and keep your giving values top of mind. Encourage your congregation to use the plan as a backdrop for generosity decisions making. It’s easy to say “yes” to every organization that asks for money, but ask: do those donations align with my plan?

Get creative with generosity

Giving doesn’t always have to be monetary. Be sure your congregants know their time and talents are valued just as much as their money. Offer up projects and community service ideas that may benefit the mission of your church. Encourage groups to form Thrivent Action Teams, groups of volunteers who donate time and effort to help a charitable cause of their choice.

Celebrate generosity

Studies show that generosity is contagious. That means when we hear a story about someone giving time or money, we often feel inspired to be generous, too. Share stories of generosity with your congregation. Highlight special groups who have made a difference in your church community. Thank them again and again, and tell others how they can get involved.

Read more: 3 ways to weave generosity into your financial plan

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Banking for your ministry

When it comes to your church, we know that you have different needs than most businesses. At TCU, we have a group of dedicated team members who specialize in work with ministries. They’re ready to help you accomplish your financial goals in a way that makes the most sense for your organization.

We’re one of the go-to financial organizations for churches, faith-based schools and nonprofits that are affiliated with a Lutheran Synod, and here’s why:

  • We know your challenges are different: We understand that when you depend on charitable contributions, your financial challenges run deeper than the regular business owner.

  • We know your process is different: From church council discussions to bylaws, we know that you take unique steps to gain approval for financial decisions.

  • We know your people are different: We recognize that your focus is on your students or congregation. Lean on us to guide you when it comes to lending.

Getting started

  • Browse business checking and savings options
  • Learn how to bank online
  • Take out a loan
  • Learn about treasury management

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Premarital counseling

One of the most rewarding roles as pastor is being part of the marriage process. While you have the honor of guiding happy couples through their marriage ceremony, you also have the important job of leading premarital counseling. This intense series of meetings usually brings the couple closer and better prepares them for life together. But sometimes a very critical aspect of premarital counseling gets little attention: finances. Use the general resources below as a guide to focus on money and marriage before two Christians say “I do”. 

Develop a budget

The BalanceWorks® system: Allow the couple to explore this free budget tool and go through the exercise together of deciding how much to save, spend or give. Determine the couple’s needs and wants. Is there room for emergency spending? Is there room for generosity? These are important conversations to have before merging finances.

Articles to share

These articles can help couples create a healthy start as they join together their lives and their finances.

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