Episode 170

SBC Pastors Feeling Inflation, Financially Stressed & State Abortion Bans Continue

Aug 29, 2022

As inflation and other economic issues may be stretching most Americans’ budgets, Southern Baptist pastors may be feeling the pinch more than most. Even as President Biden continues to make attempts to release the pressure of inflation and the threat of a recession, at least one analyst believes the road to economic recovery will be long. And, state bans on abortion continue to take effect while the clinics that perform the lethal procedure against preborn children continue to decline two months after the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Roe v. Wade decision.

Transcript

As inflation and other economic issues may be stretching most Americans’ budgets, Southern Baptist pastors may be feeling the pinch more than most.

A study conducted by Lifeway Research along with GuideStone and Baptist state conventions found compensation for full-time Southern Baptist senior pastors has remained flat over the past four years, while the total pay package has decreased.

While the Consumer Price Index has jumped 17.6 percent from 2018 to 2022, compensation, which includes salary and housing, has increased 0.2 percent for full-time senior pastors at Southern Baptist churches during the same period. Their pay package, which includes compensation plus any retirement or insurance benefits, fell 2.1 percent. A previous Lifeway Research study of U.S. Protestant pastors found 41 percent say they’re worried about their family’s financial security. Additionally, 1 in 5 Protestant pastors (18 percent) say financial stress is one of the greatest concerns they have in ministry.
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Even as President Biden continues to make attempts to release the pressure of inflation and the threat of a recession, at least one analyst believes the road to economic recovery will be long.

David Spika, chief investment officer at GuideStone Financial Resources, told Baptist Press that he believes the nation is headed for a recession. He was the guest of “Baptist Press This Week,” released Aug. 25.

“I think one thing that people need to keep in mind is recessions are generally thought of as very difficult periods of time. People lose their jobs, stocks decline, etc., but recessions are a normal and healthy part of the economic cycle,” Spika said.

He said the national economy usually experiences some form of a recession every five to seven years, but there hasn’t been one since 2008. “So we haven’t had one in 14 years,” he said, “that means we’re overdue.”

In addition to looking at inflation, Spika said people should consider what he calls the Consumer Stress Indicator. It combines looking at the key items in consumer spending – mortgage rates, gas price and food prices.

“When you aggregate those, they come up with a measure. The measure today is 23,” he said. “This is the highest it has been since the early 1980s.”
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State bans on abortion continue to take effect while the clinics that perform the lethal procedure against preborn children continue to decline two months after the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Roe v. Wade decision.

Laws took effect Thursday (Aug. 25) in Idaho, Tennessee and Texas to bring to 14 the number of states that have enacted prohibitions on either all abortions except those to protect the life of the mother or on those when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, according to Susan B. Anthony (SBA) Pro-life America. Three nearly total abortion bans are scheduled to take effect soon, and six others are awaiting court decisions, the organization reported Friday (Aug. 26).

At least partly as a result, 62 abortion clinics have halted performances of the procedure recently, the pro-life activist organization Operation Rescue (O.R.) reported Aug. 24. The number of states without an abortion clinic in operation has reached 13, including North Dakota, though a court has blocked the state’s ban, according to an O.R. report based on a week-long investigation.

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