In the summer of 2018, Micah Roddy felt a call to minister in Corpus Christi, TX. He and his wife Amy were faithful to that call when First Baptist Church of Corpus Christi (FBCC) offered Roddy a position as a student pastor.
Relocating his family from the Lubbock area, where he faithfully served in ministry for eight years, Roddy and his wife soon began experiencing some financial pressures.
“When we moved, Amy struggled to find employment, which was the main cause of our financial strain,” said Roddy. “Normally, we would have been okay with just one of us working, but I also had some student debt from pursuing my master’s degree, and we had one car payment we were trying to pay off.”
He explained that it was this combination of debts, along with rent and the expenses of raising a child, that caused them to struggle.
“We had some savings and lived off those a bit. We also both worked odd jobs trying to get by. This helped for a while but just wasn’t enough,” said Roddy.
During these times of uncertainty, he and his wife remained faithful in prayer, asking God to provide a way for them to make ends meet if this was where He wanted them.
An answer to prayer
God quickly delivered answers when Roddy met with FBCC Senior Pastor Brian Hill who told him about the Texas Baptist Center for Financial Health (CFH).
Established in 2017, the CFH exists to support ministers through grant funds, low-interest loans and financial literacy resources. Led by Director Tammy Tervooren, the CFH is a part of the Texas Baptist Connections Team and serves as a connection point for pastors to the vast array of resources and ministries offered by the convention.
“I was only asking for prayer when I went to visit Pastor Hill,” said Roddy. “Then I found out that there were many options available to me through Texas Baptists. After that meeting, we began the application process for the Ministers Financial Health Grant.”
The Ministers Financial Health Grant allows eligible Texas Baptists pastors and church ministers to apply for a matching grant up to $2,500. Because it is a matching grant, Roddy explained that it is important for applicants to have the full support of their church from the outset.
“One thing I remember about the application process is that we had to be really open about our financial situation,” said Roddy. “This wasn’t challenging for me and Amy, because we knew that our main problem was needing to find her a job.”
He recalled the process of reviewing his personal budget with his financial counselor, Aaron Schaub, before being approved for the grant.
“This was actually encouraging for us because we could clearly see that we were only hurting because of student loans and a car payment. We did not have any other debts, and we weren’t living outside our means,” said Roddy.
Schaub did not just review the budget but supported Roddy for several months through his financial literacy training.
“Aaron is a CPA, but he has a heart for the church and ministers, so he volunteers to help people with their finances,” said Roddy. “I was required to meet with him three times, and Texas Baptists funded these three meetings, but Aaron and I developed a friendship that went beyond this.”
According to Roddy, Schaub prayed over him during meetings, helped connect Amy with a few interview opportunities and even did their taxes at the beginning of the new year.
“Ministers’ taxes are very confusing. Until Schaub helped us, I had not once received a refund in my 11 years of doing ministry. In fact, I usually owed money. But Schaub helped us get our first refund ever. That was amazing.”
Along with support from his financial counselor, Roddy attended a financial literacy course in Houston. This course highlighted the long-term goal of the CFH, which is to produce financial understanding among ministers rather than create dependency.
“One student ministry volunteer from FBCC picked me up at 4 a.m. and drove me to Houston for the course. He sat in the meetings with me and then drove me back later that day,” said Roddy. “Our church family really walked with us through that time. It was wonderful to see God work in all these little ways, reminding us of His faithfulness, even though it was hard to celebrate at the time.”
A change in prayer and ministry
Since receiving the Minsters Financial Health Grant and attending financial literacy courses, Roddy and his wife have experienced greater financial stability.
“It actually worked out that we received the grant pretty close to when Amy found and started a new job. So blessings really flooded in,” said Roddy. “Because of the grant, we were able to completely pay off our car payment. Now, all we have to deal with is student loans, and we are back on track to pay those off early.”
Roddy added that he and his wife also plan to close on their first house soon, which they are excited to open as a place of fellowship for FBCC students and volunteers alike.
Reflecting on the change that the Minsters Financial Health Grant had on his ability to do ministry, Roddy said, “Our prayer has changed from ‘God bless us’ to ‘God, help us bless others.’”
Roddy said he is excited and optimistic about the future of FBCC student ministry.
The CFH eagerly continues to provide aid to Texas Baptists pastors and ministers across the state.
“We’ve seen the positive and long-lasting impact financial guidance and financial literacy can have on pastors and ministers personally and on their churches,” said Tervooren.
In 2020, the CFH received a $1 million renewal grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to expand the reach of its grant funds, loan options and financial literacy resources.
To learn more about Texas Baptist Center for Financial Health, visit txb.org/cfh.