About the Project

The Ministry Excellence Project is a Church of the Brethren partnership ministry initiative between the Northern Indiana District and the South/Central Indiana District. The overall goal of the project is to remove some of the major economic barriers that cause stress on pastors and interfere with their ministry effectiveness and personal well-being. Project goals target key initiatives with both pastors and congregations.

The Ministry Excellence Project began in 2008, with a planning grant from the Lilly Endowment. The districts shared in a planning initiative to explore what economic challenges impact pastoral ministry. Input was received from pastors and their spouses, church boards, and financial professionals. A full grant proposal was submitted to the Lilly Endowment and received funding early in 2009. The Ministry Excellence Board was formed, consisting of the two District Executives and two representatives from each district. The Board hired Barry A. Belknap as the quarter time Project Director in May 2009. Goals were developed to launch the first phase of the project in June 2009. In 2013 the Board is continuing to refine and grow the Ministry Excellence Project.


In 2017, MEP gave its final report to the Lilly Foundation, allowing the Board to merge the operating and grant funds. MEP will continue to give grants to pastors with financial need, and is grateful to receive contributions to support their work. Contribution checks should be written to Ministry Excellence Project and mailed to the South/Central Indiana District Office at PO Box 32, North Manchester IN 46962.

Project Goals

The project seeks to assist installed full and part time church pastors with:

  • The burden of escalating health insurance and health care costs
  • Inadequate funding for retirement
  • Low salaries and benefits
  • Educational debt for pastors and spouses
All clergy in the two districts will benefit from resources & training about:
  • Financial planning
  • Tax and Budget Planning
  • Managing rising health care costs
  • Clergy as financial shepherds and leaders
Congregations will benefit from resources and training to:
  • Better understand clergy financial stress issues
  • Build strong working relationships with pastors
  • Effectively plan for funding pastoral ministry
Watch the Ministry Excellence Project DVD!

Click on the link below to watch our new eight minute DVD which interprets the MEP ministry. Each congregation has been mailed a hard copy of the DVD along with a discussion guide about clergy finances. If you need an additional copy, please contact us. http://youtu.be/OXb_lDe2jIs