February 22, 2013
Most Southern Baptist Pastors 'Not Prepared to Die'
LifeWay study suggests 4 in 10 SBC pastors (as well as 9 in 10 churches) lack sufficient estate planning.
Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) pastors may have a place prepared for them in heaven, but many may not be prepared to vacate their earthly estates quite yet.
A new study by LifeWay Research shows that a majority of SBC pastors hold incorrect beliefs regarding estate issues, and 37 percent "do not have a trust, will, living will, electronic will, legacy story, or durable power of attorney with health care directives."
Younger pastors (those ages 18-44) are least likely to have a will that details what will happen to their assets. Moreover, the data show that more than half of all pastors misunderstand what happens legally in such cases.
"The fact is, in both cases—with property and children—the court decides what happens to them if there is no will in place," said Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research. "But more than half of pastors misunderstand what happens to their assets ... and 1 in 5 misunderstand what happens to children when parents die without a will."
A similar LifeWay study found that nearly 9 in 10 SBC churches do not assist their congregations in estate planning. And although almost three-quarters of pastors said they believe Christians should bequeath money to their churches as an estate gift, the vast majority of churches (84%) received no estate gifts last year.
CT previously has reported on money and church finances, including Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, which helps Christians—and congregations—manage their budgets. CT also reported in 2009 that churches were poised to benefit from a Congress-urged "death-tax resurrection."