Some kind of formal training, though not absolutely necessary, is probably a good idea. But as pointed out this week in a post at The Gospel Coalition blog , the combination of modest pay and high student loan debt should cause those of us considering a call to serve the church to think carefully about schooling options.
As someone who, somewhat recently, finished up a Bible College degree, and with…ahem…thousands owed still in student loans, I agree there’s wisdom there to consider. But, two factors I’ve learned from the repayment process I would share that I think would be of help. Several United States Government programs have made student loan repayment for those serving in low-paying, not-for-profit careers reasonable.
First, regardless of the amount of your debt, your monthly repayment amount may be affected by your income level and family size through Income Based Repayment. For additional info on this see here.
Secondly, as you make payments and if you are employed by a 501c3 not-for-profit organization (like a church) you are eligible for loan forgiveness! after 120 consecutive monthly payments. Some info on Public Service Loan Forgiveness is here.
Churches may considered monetary debts against you in qualification for ministry (a later post I’m sure). “[An overseer] must manage his own household well…” as 1 Timothy 3:4 says and this would include financial matters. But you can have a plan to pay your debts that’s within reason. And these means (by way of government programs) may very well be part of the way…
…God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)