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Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Uncle AlaGator, Dec 18, 2003.
Getting advice to do both. I am bi-vocational so if there are any pitfalls there, please share.
How old are you?
How many quarters have you worked at secular work where Social Security was withheld and paid?
Do you ever anticipate being a fulltime pastor?
Opting out of Social Security for earnings as a minister does not mean you're opting out of Social Security forever. Your secular job will still qualify you for Social Security benefits and medicare.
Get the form and see if you can sign it with a clear conscience. It has changed since I signed it back in 1980.
I'm 30 and do plan on being full time within the next few years. I have put in enough quarters to qualify I believe (from 1991 to present) however I don't have any plans on needing SS. If it is there then it would just be a bonus.
Thanks for letting me know about the form. Where can I pick one up or possibly online?
It is purely a matter of conviction.If you read the paper work you find that you are only allowed to opt out if being in violates your religious convictions. I don't think its a matter or pros and cons.
It is purely a matter of conviction.If you read the paper work you find that you are only allowed to opt out if being in violates your religious convictions. I don't think its a matter or pros and cons. </font>[/QUOTE]Here's the exact statement from the form.
I certify that I am conscientiously opposed to, or because of my religious principles I am opposed to, the acceptance (for services I perform as a minister, member of a religious order not under a vow of poverty, or a Christian Science practitioner) of any public insurance that makes payments in the event of death, disability, old age, or retirement; or that makes payments toward the cost of, or provides services for, medical care. (Public insurance includes insurance systems established by the Social Security Act.)
Most Baptists on the grounds of Separation of Church and State have no problems with this statement.
Remember you're not opting out of Social Security or Medicare. You're opting out of participating on earnings derived from ministry.
Form 4361 is available here:
If you haven't, it would probably be a good idea to talk with a financial planner. Ah, youth! To be 30 again, and assuming that S.S., if there, is only a potential bonus in the very dim future!
What if a pastor dies or is disabled and has four young kids his wife then has to take care of?
Social Security is for a lot more than a retirement bonus. Also, even if you now qualify, the amount you or your family would actually get goes up the more earnings you have.
If you opt out, in other words, life happens. So please be sure you have savings and investment strategies as well as life insurance. They say at least ten times as much life insurance as your annual salary. For that matter, please do all this even if you don't opt out.
My dad is a stock broker and recommends staying in. The reason is rooted in reality...those who opt out rarely if ever actually replace it with something else, even though that is the plan. He used to pastor, has four of five children in full-time ministry and understands the financial struggles of ministry. Most of the time every dime you get is already spent. Before you know it your 20 years down the road and don't have anything to retire on! He also tells pastors that Social Security isn't going to be enough to live on, you have to do something in addition at sometime. Live like Christ's comes tomarrow plan like it's 100 years away.
BTW - I have been in ministry going on 14 years and just now feel like I am earning enough to be making it, as it were! Be prepared for a long row to hoe!
I have pastored this small church now for 14 years. Because of many things,the key was in the front door and the small congregation was considering closing.I was 53 at the time,and had to work 2 days each week in a secular job.As many know,a turn around effort takes approx 10 years to succeed- if it does at all.Part time work took a big chunk out of my time and disrupted my focus, but the Lord saw us through.At 65,I began drawing social security. Rather than restricting me in any way, or going against my religious beliefs, it has freed me to devote more time to the ministry.I realize also that, at this present time, it is not possible to live on S.S. income only, so the salary that the church can now pay is necessary.I'm not really sure what "retirement" means, anyway!Many opted out of S.S. at an early age, and have now found themselves "high and dry" and unable to continue in full time pastoral ministry.
Hope this is helpful when it comes to decision time.
Thanks for the feedback folks. As for life insurance, that is taken care of (my part-time is gig is at State Farm ) It does come down to the verbage for me, and it really doesn't violate anything for me so on that note, the decision is made.
Look forward to sharing other stories/struggles with what God does with a youth group of four and their fearless (fearful?) new leader.