Assembly 2015 / General CBF

CBF Church Benefits celebrates milestone at Assembly luncheon

By Bob Perkins

At the annual luncheon for CBF Church Benefits, President Gary Skeen told members that Church Benefits is in the midst of great change. Skeen announced that total investments for the CBF retirement plan (403b) has surpassed the $50 million milestone, a significant increase from where the plan started at $20 million in 2008.

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CBF Church Benefits President Gary Skeen

“Because we’ve reached this achievement, we now have the biggest players in the market bidding for our business,” he said. While a formal announcement isn’t planned before the fall, Skeen said he  hopes to name a new investment partner in the fall.

“We started in 2008, no one had experience working with churches, with the particular needs and opportunities that we have. No one had a plan for example of how to address the housing allowances ministers receive,” Skeen said.

The new service providers bring great resources to the table in terms of service, technology, investing tools, investor education and benefits. “These are services I have wanted to provide you for years. I’m excited about what that means, not for people my age, but for young ministers who are starting out their ministry today.”

Former CBF field personnel Bob and Janice Newell were guest speakers at the luncheon and both related stories about how Church Benefits had helped them in their transition into retirement.

Janice remembered someone telling them about retirement savings when Bob started his first ministerial job, but she didn’t know too much about it. Through the years, it grew and became more and more important in their lives.

“The greatest things about being our age is looking back and seeing how God has unfolded his plan for our lives,” she said. “We’re grateful to Church Benefits for helping make our transition back to the United States ridiculously easy. We’re not weighed down with anxious concerns. We can now look and see what God has planned for us in this next chapter of our lives.”

Skeen also gave details about the Lily Endowment survey currently being conducted in partnership with CBF, the Foundation and Church Benefits to research economic challenges faced by CBF pastors and ministers.

“The purpose of the research grant is to survey our ministers on their economics and preparedness for retirement and assess where they are and what their biggest obstacles are,” Skeen said. “We’ve got seminary students coming out now with between $50 and $100 million in student loan debt.”

Skeen said the research grant is the first step of what he hopes will be a long-term engagement with the Lily Endowment. The survey results will be used to apply for a grant to address the pastoral economic challenges, to develop education and investing training, and possibly establish a fund that would set aside an endowment for minister economic welfare.

“This survey will help us learn what the issues are for our CBF constituency and help us develop a program to address those issues and create a sustained fund,” he said.

To keep up with news, photos and videos from the 2015 CBF General Assembly in Dallas, Texas, please visit www.cbf.net/Dallas2015.

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