TORONTO (BP) -- For the second year in a row trustees for the North American Mission Board have approved a one-time contribution of $1,000 to the retirement accounts of 1,500 church planters in NAMB's Send North America Network. The money is coming from underspends in NAMB's 2012-13 fiscal year budget.

"Our church planters are serving in difficult places and in most cases very expensive places," NAMB President Kevin Ezell said. "Planning for the future isn't always the first thing on their minds. We are able to do this because of the generosity of Southern Baptists and because of careful spending throughout the year."

NAMB will provide the benefit to planters in the U.S. through Guidestone Financial Resources and to planters in Canada through Standard Life.

Church planters who received the benefit last year say it has helped them think of their ministry more holistically and has allowed them to consider more clearly the long-term sustainability of both their church's and their family's finances.

"We don't necessarily have the resources to contribute to a retirement fund right now so it's such a huge blessing for NAMB to make this happen for us while we're focusing on our present ministry," said Matt Miller, pastor of New City Church in Shawnee, Kan.

The Send Network aims at strengthening and encouraging Southern Baptist church planters and their families during the beginning stages of planting. Locally led support teams in each of NAMB's 32 Send North America Cities provide networking events and other opportunities for encouragement and strengthening for planters and their families throughout the year.

"This is a tremendous blessing to our planters and their families," Micah Millican, NAMB's director of church planter relations, told trustees during their Oct. 9 meeting in Toronto. "I don't know if you understand how amazing this is. Oftentimes are not financially able to invest in their retirement, and NAMB is thrilled to be able to help with that."

To qualify for the benefit, church planters need to join NAMB's network by Oct. 31, 2013, at http://www.namb.net/cpprofile. After successfully enrolling in the network, planters will be contacted by staff from NAMB's department of church planter relations with further instructions for how to receive the one-time benefit.

Adam Miller writes for the North American Mission Board. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

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