Supporting Pastors During Crisis
Ministerial Relief is a ministry of compassion to Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) pastors and their families, administered through PCA Retirement & Benefits, Inc.
Generous individuals and churches make it possible for Ministerial Relief to assist church employees and their families suffering financially from the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Your gifts help stabilize families during emergencies so they can continue serving their congregations. Recently, your gifts provided much needed support to the pastor of a PCA Korean congregation and his family.
Accepting the Call
In 2018, Wonsub Shim was installed as pastor of Korean Central Presbyterian Church (KCPC) in Cincinnati. The 23 year-old church had six members when he arrived. The church was fragile, unable to afford their meeting space, and unable to pay Rev. Shim. But Rev. Shim had a deep sense that God was calling him to this needed revitalization effort, and accepted the call. He supported his wife and three children from his personal savings while also working toward his Ph.D. at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Over 18 months, the church grew and was able to financially provide for its pastor. New families joined the church and their contributions enabled the church to compensate Rev. Shim. Other Korean congregations also sent funds to support their sister church as it regained its footing.
Then COVID-19 arrived and the restrictions on church services began.
Giving decreased dramatically as members suffered from the downturn in the economy. Because his household is a non-resident family, they were excluded from the stimulus package of the U.S. government. Rev. Shim looked to relatives in South Korea for help but they were unable to assist because of the impact of the pandemic on their own economy. As Rev. Shim states, “I cut all of my family expenses, but it still seemed like we could not last a month without income. Although KCPC continued to have a service and meet one another through Zoom, I was not able to tell my congregation about my urgent concerns. Culturally, it is not a virtue for a pastor to talk about his financial situation in Korean churches.”
At this moment, he reached out to PCA Ministerial Relief. “I did not expect much help or attention because I knew I would not be the only one who is struggling at this time. Rev. Medlock and his team, however, treated me so carefully and showed me their Hesed, serving me willingly and faithfully.”
Ministerial Relief helped Rev. Shim navigate the financial distress he and his family were facing by providing temporary financial assistance to make sure important household expenses were covered. We connected him with one of our PCA Retirement & Benefits financial planning advisors, Don Aldin, who is also an ordained pastor. “Don helped me to apply for the PPP loan. By God’s grace, we were able to receive the loan in the middle of May, so KCPC has secured enough funds to give me a salary for May and June.”
Through the gifts and guidance of PCA Ministerial Relief, Rev. Shim has been able to continue pastoring his congregation. As he recently wrote about this experience, “Your help made me firmly believe the Word of Matthew 6:33-34.”
‘But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’
“When I struggled with my concerns, I was suspicious of that second verse. I thought, ‘how could a person not be anxious about tomorrow?’ But you reminded me that Matthew 6:33 precedes Matthew 6:34, which I have not thought about carefully before this pandemic. Matthew 6:33 says: ‘But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.’ I appreciate you all who taught me that those who seek first His kingdom and His righteousness do not have to worry about tomorrow.”
We praise God for the opportunity to serve pastors and their families like Wonsub Shim. The gifts of generous individuals and churches make this possible. We partner with pastors and churches to support ministry employees and their families in need by providing financial assistance and counseling services. Visit our website to learn more about how we help and to make a gift to support ministry employees like Wonsub Shim who serve Christ’s church.
About PCA Retirement & Benefits
We prepare and protect PCA co-laborers in Christ by providing products and guidance in retirement, insurance, relief, and related services. We aim, through trusted relationships with our partners, to enable and encourage them to be more focused on ministry.