24 Reasons to Enroll in the Clergy Financial Literacy Academy


Long before the pandemic rocked everyone’s world, pastors have had to deal with financial challenges. On the home front, they could be balancing seminary debt while trying to save for a new car, children’s education, or retirement. Pastors also need the skills to address financial decision-making that may involve personnel issues, capital campaigns, renovations, construction, endowments, and gift acceptance policies.

That’s why, in 2020, the Georgia United Methodist Foundation launched the Clergy Financial Literacy Academy! This 20-hour online and Zoom discussion course provides pastors with groundbreaking personal and church finance training. Please don’t take our word for it! Read on to learn why four conference leaders recommend pastors enroll in the CFLA.

Rev. Dr. Yvette D. Massey, Associate Director of the Center for Congregational Excellence, The North Georgia Conference

1. The CFLA provides training that is practical, biblical, and easy to implement.
2. The CFLA is non-threatening and empowering.
3. It is designed to foster a change of heart that can lead to a healthier relationship with money.
4. It offers 2.5 CEUs.
5. It helps pastors face the challenge of being a church in a post COVID area and what that means for staffing, ministry, and programmatic design financially.
6. The format with online modules completed between the Zoom sessions is effective.
7. It provides an intensive immersion into financial management that if participants avail themselves of all of the resources, they may experience lasting change.

Dr. Derek W. McAleer, Conference Treasurer and Director of Administrative Services, The South Georgia Conference

8. The CFLA develops a pastor’s sense of financial competence and skills. When pastors have confidence in handling their finances and some training on assessing financial matters, they can provide their very best leadership.
9. It gives pastors tools to quickly determine if an issue under consideration needs closer examination.
10. Another benefit is in the area of crisis avoidance. Think how many problems will be avoided or mitigated by these pastors throughout their ministry because they are better equipped!
11. The case studies deal with real-world examples, not just theory. Talking about these situations with colleagues who have similar theological training is very helpful to pastors.

Rev. Dr. Michael McQueen, Central North District Superintendent, The North Georgia Conference

12. The CFLA is all about stewardship, and God requires us to be good stewards of what He has entrusted to us.
13. Pastors learn how to manage finances to fund the mission and vision of the church.
14. Newer pastors will gain a working understanding of how to manage cashflows, budgets, and payroll.
15. The CFLA is a good refresher of the basic fundamentals for more experienced pastors.
16. Pastors will benefit from the quality and expertise of the CFLA teachers, Charles W. Buffington Jr. and the Rev. Keith Lawder (retired GUMF president/CEO).
17. It helps pastors with their personal finances and staying focused on saving money for retirement and self-employment taxes.

Rev. Doreen Smalls, Southwest District Superintendent, The South Georgia Conference

18. The CFLA can be comprehended by those who do not have a financial background.
19. It includes tutorials and exercises to equip clergy to make better financial decisions in their personal lives and the church.
20. It is in an electronic format with instructors, which makes it accessible.
21. It is cost-effective and a great investment. The knowledge gained surpasses the nominal cost.
22. It equips pastors to create realistic budgets, reduce debt, and plan capital campaigns.
23. In their personal lives, it helps pastors prepare for the future, reduce debt, and create and live within a budget.
24. It gives clergy an opportunity to connect and create relationships with other pastors beyond the training.