The Rev. Jeff Thiemann, President and Chief Executive Officer of Portico Benefit Services, has announced that he will retire on […]
When Our Leaders Are Healthy, Our Churches Are Stronger
For over 200 years, the Lutheran Church has supported the well-being of faith leaders and their families. Portico is committed to continuing this legacy of providing comprehensive benefits to the rostered ministers and lay employees of the ELCA’s congregations, synods, and churchwide organization.
Supporting the physical and financial well-being of those who lead — from seminary to retirement — has much to do with creating and maintaining vital ministries. When our leaders are healthy, our churches are stronger.
This ELCA core belief explains the enduring partnership between ELCA organizations, their leaders, and Portico Benefit Services. As congregations and as professionals in ministry, we’re called to support well-being and strengthen ministry. Guiding church documents, such as the ELCA Philosophy of Benefits, point to the critical role we each play:
- Congregation members and organizations are called upon to provide their leaders with sustainable livelihoods as well as time to tend their well-being.
- Leaders are expected to tend to their well-being in all dimensions of the Wholeness Wheel, the wellness symbol and discernment tool.
- Portico is responsible for providing cost-effective benefits, resources, and inspiration to help leaders strengthen their financial, emotional, and physical well-being.
Fostering Healthy Leaders
Our churches are stronger when God’s people are good stewards of the lives God has given them. When our leaders tend to their well-being, they model strength, courage, vulnerability, compassion, and grace.
- Healthy leaders are comfortable talking about money. Because they have addressed their own financial matters, they can more confidently guide their congregation through financial challenges with grace, empathy, and wisdom.
- Healthy leaders care for themselves emotionally and physically, knowing that when they do, their people get them at their best. They are more likely to be a non-anxious, listening presence, able to guide others through difficult situations.
- Healthy leaders know there is strength in vulnerability. They embrace help from family, colleagues, professionals, etc., and look for opportunities to share with others how they were helped. In this way, they affirm for others that we can’t live well when we stand alone.
- Healthy leaders speak openly about their life, sharing stories of their own decisions — wise and less wise. In this way, they engage others in honest conversation, and invite them to more openly consider and discuss their own issues.
Portico Representatives for ELCA Synods and Churches
Portico regional representatives serve as the front-line contacts for ELCA synod offices and are available as resources for events and benefit information.
Support for ELCA Leaders
Portico joins with the ELCA to provide scholarships and support for church leaders at every stage, seminary through retirement. Through these and other special programs Portico is committed to supporting the ELCA.
Portico’s Seminary Scholarship
By investing in future ELCA leaders, we empower those whom God calls to serve as the church needs and as the Holy Spirit leads. Portico contributes to the ELCA Fund for Leaders by providing one full-tuition scholarship to a seminary student pursuing rostered ministry, funded through donations from Portico employees and trustees.*
*No funding comes from the benefit contributions paid to Portico by sponsoring employers or plan members.
As part of an overarching commitment to well-being as part of the Wholeness Wheel, the ELCA’s Resourceful Servants Initiative promotes financial wellness for ELCA congregations, rostered ministers, and seminarians. It is supported by a grant from the Lilly Endowment and a partnership between the ELCA churchwide organization, the Mission Investment Fund of the ELCA, the ELCA Federal Credit Union, the ELCA Foundation, Portico Benefit Services, and Lutheran Social Service (LSS) Financial Counseling.
ELCA Special Needs Retirement Fund
The ELCA Special Needs Retirement Fund supports the continued legacy of our predecessor organizations by providing financial assistance (monthly retirement income, and in some cases, health plan contributions) to eligible retired leaders and church workers and their surviving spouses experiencing real financial hardship or living on a low income.
Portico co-administers this fund with the ELCA, which currently serves about 60 people a year. Generous donations from individuals and congregations, as well as support from the churchwide organization and Portico, established and now maintain this fund. To learn more about this fund, eligibility requirements, and how to apply, please call Portico’s Customer Care Center at 800.352.2876