Retirement planning is a necessity for every minister and compensated staff member. It is the church’s responsibility to be good stewards in providing funds for retirement for all employees (ministers and staff).
Mississippi Baptist Convention Board (MBCB) and GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention have an agreement which provides protection coverage for every church staff member whom the church enrolls in the “Church Retirement Plan.” “Mississippi Baptist do this differently and better than any other state convention,” stated Dr. Jim Futral, Executive Director-Treasurer of the MBCB.
The “Church Retirement Plan” is an employer sponsored 403 (b) (9) tax sheltered annuity in which the church (the employer) contributes monthly for any of the church employees she chooses (usually the pastor). W-2 employment is required to enroll an employee of your MBCB church. In addition, to qualify for “protection benefits” listed below, the employee must receive a W-2 and work at least 20 hours weekly. In either case, the church must contribute to the MBCB Cooperative Program and sign a Cooperative Agreement (available from MBCB Financial Services, Retirement). The employee may be full-time, part-time, bi-vocational ministerial or full-time, part-time non-ministerial or similar church school employees.
Upon enrollment, the church receives a monthly billing statement which is to be remitted with a church check each month to GuideStone. The employee is encouraged to contribute a portion of his/her check by signing a “Salary Reduction Agreement.” This agreement is kept on file at the church with other tax records.
Exclusive Protection Benefits
A participant in the MBCB “Church Retirement Plan” is eligible for two protection benefits and potential matching retirement contributions provided by our MBCB Cooperative Program.
- Disability Income Benefit. This benefit provides an income of up to $500* per month if the participant becomes disabled, plus GuideStone contributes $35 to the participants retirement account each month of the disability.
- Survivor Protection Benefit. This benefit is paid to the participant’s beneficiary if death is incurred while employed at an eligible church and the church is contributing monthly to the participant’s account. The benefit amount depends upon a participant’s age at death but can be as much as $100,000.*
Your Age at Death Maximum Benefit Payable* 35 and under $100,00 36-45 $75,000 46-55 $50,000 56-65 $25,000 66-70 $16,000 71 and over $10,000
*Eligible participants earn 1/12 of the value of these benefits for each month of participation in the Church Retirement Plan in the 12 months immediately preceding the participant’s disability or death.
(Effective January 1, 2018) – To receive credit for protection benefits, the church or the participant must make a minimum retirement contribution of $50 per month into the eligible participant’s GuideStone retirement account. Disability benefits must begin before age 65 and will be limited to a payout of 60 months.
- Matching Retirement Contributions. For a monthly church contribution of $52.50 or more, MBCB provides a “Matching Contribution.” A sliding scale provides $1 to every $3 contributed up to $105, when a maximum of $17.50 is generously contributed into the participant’s account.
“The leaders in our churches can be of tremendous help in making sure that there are at least some provisions for their pastor to participate in the retirement program at GuideStone. If some money is set aside that can only be used for a retirement program, it makes a difference. One of the problems that pastors have is the same problem that everyone else faces. They need virtually everything that they can make to put food on the table and to keep body and soul together. It is problematic for young pastors because they do not believe that they will ever need it, and for older pastors because they feel they have waited too long to prepare for it. Add to that the fact that there will be some members who wrongly think that the Lord will take care of them when retirement time comes. The God who brought about the dream in Pharaoh’s mind that was later interpreted by Joseph said that there would be seven good years and seven lean years that would follow. Pharaoh needed to prepare because he needed to be ready. The brilliant Solomon instructs us that we are to go to the ant and watch him when he is working, gathering, pulling, and storing for winter. Every day that passes doing nothing is another lost opportunity to be prepared.”
Jim Futral, Executive Director-Treasurer
Mississippi Baptist Convention Board
10 Reasons to enroll employees in the “Church Retirement Plan”
- The church staff participant receives a disability and survivor protection benefit that provides a safe harbor for his/her family.
- The church staff may receive matching retirement contributions credited to his/her GuideStone account.
- Employer contributions are not subject to current income or self-employment (SECA) taxes.
- All earnings on contributions grow tax-sheltered until withdrawn.
- Tax-sheltered contributions from the participant’s salary reduce the current income tax liability.
- Tax-sheltered contributions from participants who are Ministers for Tax Purposes are not subject to self-employment (SECA) taxes.
- Participants with limited incomes may qualify for a Saver’s Credit of up to $1,000 ($2,000 if married filing jointly). Learn more at www.GuideStone.org/taxcredit.
- Qualified distributions of 403 (b) Roth elective deferrals are tax free (with legal limits). It is an employer’s (the church) decision whether or not to enter into a Roth elective deferral – see the Enrollment Application.
- The minister’s housing allowance is a very important tax benefit for retired ministers, and GuideStone specializes in providing it during retirement. With GuideStone, eligible Ministers for Tax Purposes can designate up to 100% of their retirement benefits as a tax-free housing allowance.
- Neither the church nor the participant pays commission fees.
- Visit www.GuideStone.org/StartNow
- Call 1.888.98.GUIDE (1.888.984.8433)
- Complete and submit a simple Enrollment Form
As employer, the church is responsible for enrollment and participant record keeping as to amounts, eligibility of benefits and Salary Reduction Agreements. Also, the church is required to keep 403 (b) (9) “Church Retirement Plan” forms: “Eligibility and Contribution Schedule” and “Authorized Provider List” – available from www.GuideStone.org.
See below at GuideStone Links for the “403 (b) (9) Retirement Plan for Southern Baptist Churches” document for more details.
GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention provides the “Church Retirement Plan,” a tax-sheltered annuity (TSA) or Internal Revenue Code section 403(b) (9) plan.
Mission: Dignity is a GuideStone ministry to help make life better for God’s retired servants. It provides financial assistance to pastors and/or their widows who are 65 or above. Contributions to the “Church Retirement Plan” enable one to receive aid. Mission: Dignity currently provides financial support for nearly 2500 retired Southern Baptist ministers or their widows. Qualifying individuals receive $225 a month and qualifying couples receive $300 a month. The neediest persons with at least 30 years of SBC ministerial service may receive as much as $600.
Churches, Sunday School Classes or individuals who contribute to Mission:Dignity allow a larger number of ministers/widows to receive aid each month. Any size gift is accepted and nothing is removed for administrative cost – 100% is used to help someone in need. All gifts are tax deductible to the maximum allowed by law.
For more information regarding Mission:Dignity, you may call 1.888.984.8433
- The Church Retirement Plan Kit #2179
- Compensation Planning Guide #2156
- Ministers Tax Guide for Tax Returns
[title size=”2″]Mission: Dignity Resources[/title]
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The links below are provided for your convenience and take you directly to some of the information and forms that GuideStone makes available on their website. All of the items listed below along with a wealth of other information can be reached through the GuideStone Retirement home page.
- 403(b)(9) Retirement Plan for Southern Baptist Churches — Invest tax-sheltered retirement money
- Retirement Plans Comparison — Select each plan’s link for detailed information
- Tools and Educational Resources — Read articles, watch videos, check contribution limits, use online calculators, and more
- Retirement Forms — Also includes online enrollment
- Frequently Asked Questions — Learn about retirement plans, market conditions, tax issues, and more