Christian Estate Planning – Why is it so important?

The Importance of Christian Estate Planning

By Rev. Bill Gruenewald, President-Treasurer

An estate plan is an essential preparation everyone must have. But what does it mean to create one rooted in your faith? There are many benefits to Christian estate planning, but I believe there are three foundational reasons why every believer should spend the time to diligently create an estate plan that will benefit both the loved ones they leave behind and the Kingdom.

  1. Everyone has assets that must be distributed at death
  2. It is an act of biblical stewardship
  3. It is a way for Christians to leave a legacy after they’re gone

1. Christian Estate Planning Starts With A Distribution of Assets

No matter your economic level, when you leave this life, the assets you have accumulated must be distributed somewhere. You might’ve heard the saying, “I have never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul!” That is the reality. We do not take the material things of this life with us to Heaven. 

That being said, we all need to make provisions to pass along the possessions we have. While one might think they do not have very much, once you start listing all your assets on a sheet of paper, most will soon realize they have more than they thought. There are some assets that will be distributed based on the titling of the asset or beneficiary designation, like real estate, life insurance, and retirement accounts. 

An Estate Plan Starts with a Last Will and Testament

Beyond the aforementioned assets, a Last Will and Testament is the best and most common way to distribute the majority of your possessions. If you die without a Will, the State of Tennessee will determine how your assets will be given away. So, it behooves all of us to have our own plan in place.  

If you’d like to learn more about Last Will and Testaments, how they work, and how to make one, click here to read our article on the subject.

Everyone has an estate, but not everyone has a plan!

Tennessee Baptist Foundation

2. A Faith-based Estate Plan is an Act of Stewardship

The Bible contains over 2,000 verses related to money and stewardship. The Holman Bible Dictionary defines stewardship as: Utilizing and managing all resources God provides for the glory of God and the betterment of His creation.

One of the key words in this definition is managing. That is what the word stewardship means. We are the managers of the resources God has given us. Every believer in Christ must understand the principle that God owns everything. Psalm 24:1 states, “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” (KJV) A good manager will make provisions for things that are under his care. That does not stop at death. To be a faithful manager we must make plans to pass along the assets under our care so that they can be used to help others and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. We all must be faithful stewards of our resources!

3. An Estate Plan Leaves a Legacy of Faithfulness

What do you want to be remembered for? I think it is intrinsic in all of us to leave some legacy to our family and friends. One of the great opportunities we have as Christians is to leave something from our estate that will take the gospel to the next generation. The Tennessee Baptist Foundation is available to help any Tennessee Baptist learn how they can take care of their family and bless the next generation with a faith-based estate plan. Psalm 145:4 states, “One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.” (KJV) What greater way to help the next generation than leaving resources for them to proclaim the cause of Christ?

 It’s your faith and your legacy! Give us a call. Let us help you leave that legacy.


Ready to get started?

You can reach us via phone at (615) 371-2029 or fill out this form.

Please note that the advice offered in this article is not intended to be construed as tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice for the reader. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.

Everyone has an estate, but not everyone has a plan. Do you have a plan? Take our 10 minute estate plan audit to get started.

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10 for Tenn | An investment with eternal impact

10 for Tennessee Logo

Forever Impact God’s Kingdom Through “10 for Tenn”

By Rev. Bill Gruenewald, President-Treasurer

Since 1938, the Tennessee Baptist Foundation has been working to ensure that Baptist Churches in Tennessee are equipped to do the work of the Kingdom. Through the generosity of committed believers like you, we have been able to support churches, fund mission efforts, start new churches and create scholarships, and bring glory to God through the work of His people. 

But we want to do even more.

And by God’s grace, we believe the Lord will multiply His Kingdom through an impactful initiative called 10 FOR TENN. See the infographic below to understand just how far a small estate gift can go, or download the PDF here.

Download the 10 for Tenn infographic HERE

Throughout scripture, God challenges us to follow His example and give generously because he wants us to receive the blessing that comes through it. But most people don’t know that they can also honor God with their giving through estate planning. 

Though it is common for Christians to give to their churches throughout their lifetime, only 6% of Americans leave gifts to the church in their estate. 

This is mostly because they don’t know they can or they don’t know how to do it. In fact, 6 out of 10 Americans don’t even have a Last Will and Testament, leaving their estate to the decisions of others.

That’s where the Tennessee Baptist Foundation comes in. We’ll guide you through the process of adding a legacy gift of 10% to your will that will ensure you’re investing in the future of sharing Christ in Tennessee. We can also help you plan the remaining 90% so that your family is taken care of.

When you leave a legacy gift with the Tennessee Baptist Foundation, you are sowing a seed of investment that will reap unimaginable rewards. Consider the story of the mustard seed — the smallest of all seeds. Despite its size, with many years of proper tending it will grow to be a great tree, able to provide protection and nutrients to all of God’s earth.

With our tending, your legacy gift will grow exponentially into the future, providing the resources to do the work of the Kingdom for generations to come. Imagine the everlasting impact your gift could have on the Kingdom! 

Imagine what the Lord might do through your gift. Souls will be saved. The Kingdom of God will be preached and lives will be changed forever. Give us a call at (615) 371-2029 to learn more about how you can start your investment today!


Ready to get started?

You can reach us via phone at (615) 371-2029 or fill out this form.

Please note that the advice offered in this article is not intended to be construed as tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice for the reader. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.

Everyone has an estate, but not everyone has a plan. Do you have a plan? Take our 10 minute estate plan audit to get started.

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Christian Estate Planning: Create a Legacy Giving Ministry

Tennessee church illustration

Create a Legacy Giving Ministry to Provide Long-term Benefits

By Rev. Bill Gruenewald, President-Treasurer

Churches are called to reach the lost and disciple believers to live out the Gospel. Stewardship is an aspect of discipleship that encompasses how we manage the resources God gives to us for His Kingdom. Most people think that stewardship only focuses on the tithe, but it includes so much more. Planned Giving (or Legacy Giving) through Estate Planning is an important part of stewardship that is often neglected.

Christian Estate Planning—also known as a Planned Giving Ministry—can provide resources for years to come if your congregation clearly understands the model.

However, there are some things to consider:

1. Be Proactive

The 2019 Millennial Wealth Report from WealthEngine stated that Baby Boomers are expected to pass $68 trillion in assets to the next generation by 2030. This will pass primarily through wills and trusts, but the church could be overlooked if they are not named as beneficiaries in the donor’s documents. Colleges, hospitals, and other philanthropic endeavors are often included, but if the local church is not proactive in seeking these gifts, it will be a missed opportunity.

Statistics show that 60-70% of people do not have a will or trust in place. That is 7 out every 10 people in your church! While many of these people give their tithe regularly, that often doesn’t carry over to estate gifts. The Stanford Social Innovation Review reports that fewer than 6% of Americans include a charitable bequest in their estate plan. Why is this? Most people do not know how to give through their estate plan and they are not asked.

The key takeaway here is to proactively talk about Legacy Giving so church members understand what it is and how to make a gift through their estate.

2. Make it a Ministry of Stewardship 

Most churches spend some resources in equipping members to understand Christian financial planning for debt and household budgets. But many leave the more complex topic of estate planning to the individuals to do on their own. Most people think it is too difficult and neglect the opportunity.

Without proper estate planning, higher court costs leave less to give to family or the church. The church can help members understand how to be good stewards through the strategic allocation of their assets. With the right guidance, estate planning can be less formidable and made easier. That is where the Tennessee Baptist Foundation (TBF) comes in. We will work closely with churches to develop a Legacy Ministry and with individuals to help them get their estate plans complete. When churches team with the TBF, it’s a win-win!  

We have a great resource for churches: 6 Reasons Estate Planning Conversations Should Start in the Church. Download the ebook today to learn more about this topic.

Empower your church to make a Kingdom impact through their estates. The TBF is ready to help your church enhance your ministry through Planned Giving. Give us a call at (615) 371-2029 and we can get started today!

6 reasons estate planning conversations should start in the church
Click here to download our free ebook!

Ready to get started?

You can reach us via phone at (615) 371-2029 or fill out this form.

Please note that the advice offered in this article is not intended to be construed as tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice for the reader. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.

Everyone has an estate, but not everyone has a plan. Do you have a plan? Take our 10 minute estate plan audit to get started.

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Investing Involves More Than Dollars & Cents at the TBF

students at graduation

Investing Involves More Than Dollars & Cents at the TBF

by Rev. Bill Gruenewald, President-Treasurer

When most people think about the work we do at the Tennessee Baptist Foundation (TBF), they think about our monetary investments in equities and fixed income as we try to help Tennessee Baptist churches and entities build a strong financial foundation for the future. But there is another asset class of TBF investments: students!

The TBF scholarship program provides financial assistance to students from Tennessee Baptist churches. These students represent a cross section of Tennessee Baptist life. They come from different parts of the state, representing churches of all sizes with educational emphasis in a variety of degree programs, including teaching, medicine, business, and of course, preparing for full-time Christian ministry positions. Because of this cross section, these students are poised to make a significant Kingdom impact in the marketplace. That is what our scholarship program is all about—impacting students so they can impact the world!

2021 was a milestone year for the TBF Scholarship program as we eclipsed $6 million in total scholarships awarded since 1987, when we started the program. The Foundation has awarded 8,237 scholarships in all.

How is this made possible?

By the generous giving of Tennessee Baptists who believed in students and left money from their estates in trust to the Foundation for our scholarship program. Here is a testimonial from a student who received a TBF scholarship:

“I will begin my Civil Engineering degree this year at Western Kentucky. I have committed to living a life on mission and hope to use this degree on the mission field in the future. I hope to build water reserves for small towns and villages and help those in need. My degree should open doors for me to be able to find work most anywhere. I am excited to see what God has in store for me and how he is going to use my skills and talents to further his Kingdom and bring him glory.

Applications are now open for the 2022-2023 school year on our website, with an application deadline of April 30. Visit tbfoundation.org/students to apply.

We want to invite you to make an investment in the lives of students for Kingdom impact. If you have this desire, please contact us so that we can help you design an estate plan that includes scholarships for Tennessee Baptist students. You have the wonderful opportunity today to impact the world for years to come. Consider a Faith-Based Estate plan that includes helping students be all that God is calling them to be!


Ready to get started?

You can reach us via phone at (615) 371-2029 or fill out this form.

Please note that the advice offered in this article is not intended to be construed as tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice for the reader. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.

Everyone has an estate, but not everyone has a plan. Do you have a plan? Take our 10 minute estate plan audit to get started.

Learn More

Operation Legacy Benefitting Pastors

Man reading Bible

Operation Legacy Benefitting Pastors

by Rev. Bill Gruenewald

[This article originally appeared in Baptist and Reflector in October 2021]

In March 2021, the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board (TBMB) and the Tennessee Baptist Foundation (TBF) launched an initiative to help all Tennessee pastors and ministers get their estate plans in place. We partnered with PhilanthroCorp, a faith-based company that works with charitable organizations in the area of estate planning and planned giving. 

They work with many other state Baptist foundations as well as the International Mission Board. The TBF believed with the size of this project, help would be needed, and felt PhilanthroCorp was a good partner. The TBF has and will continue to work with all Tennessee Baptists in helping get their estate plans finalized.

We have seen many pastors and ministers take advantage of this free service. Since March 2021, a total of 62 pastors throughout the state have started working on their estate plan thus far, and 14 have completed their estate plan with over $3.5 million in future gifts for Baptist causes.

The goal of this project was to have the spiritual leaders of our Tennessee Baptist churches live out their stewardship by taking care of their estate plans so they can be examples to their church.

Danny Sinquefield, senior pastor of Faith Baptist Church, Bartlett, had this to say about his experience:

“Rhonda and I had an old basic will that we had drawn up when our children were young.  We definitely needed a revision. When I heard about the connection between our Tennessee Baptist Foundation and Philanthrocorp, I was very excited to investigate the opportunity of getting our financial plans in order.

The most helpful aspect of this plan for us was the concept of leaving charitable gifts to our church and other ministries in our will.  

Honestly, that was something we didn’t really know how to make happen, but it is one of the first items on the list with this great Christian company. We were also very grateful to see how the Tennessee Baptist Foundation could serve as a managing partner to actually increase our estate over the years and provide a maximum benefit to our sons once we are in heaven. The guidance from the representatives at Philanthrocorp was so practical and helpful. They helped us think of things that we had not considered and we are truly grateful.”

Danny Sinquefield | Senior Pastor of Faith Baptist Church, Bartlett

Another minister, Sam Nichols, the Executive Pastor at First Baptist Church Collierville, shared about his experience:

“I had been planning on updating my will for some time. It was written when my children were younger. Now they are adults and my wife and I believed that our will should reflect our current situation. When I heard about the arrangement between the TBC and Philanthrocorp, I contacted John Russell to begin the process. Philanthrocorp was very easy to work with. They were professional, helpful, and insightful. It was a painless process thanks to their expertise.”

Sam Nichols | Executive Pastor, First Baptist Church Collierville

Statistics say that seven out of 10 people DO NOT have a current estate plan in place. This includes ministers and their families as well. The TBMB and the TBF not only see this project as a ministry to our pastors but also see it benefiting Kingdom work for years to come. 

Sinquefield shares this message to all Tennessee pastors and ministers:

“I would encourage all of my pastor friends and others to consider using this company for your estate planning. Rhonda and I feel confident that we are being good stewards of God’s blessings and that our gifts to ministry partners will advance the gospel for years to come. We rest well knowing this planning is settled and sealed. It was a most enjoyable and beneficial process from start to finish.”

The TBF’s mission is to manage funds with integrity and help Tennessee Baptists leave legacies with a Kingdom focus. If you are a pastor and have not taken advantage of this opportunity, please contact the TBF at 615-371-2029 or visit our website at tbfoundtion.org.

January is a great time for all of us to look at our estate plan and either complete it or update a current plan. Make this a New Year’s resolution for 2022!


Ready to get started?

You can reach us via phone at (615) 371-2029 or fill out this form.

Please note that the advice offered in this article is not intended to be construed as tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice for the reader. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.

Everyone has an estate, but not everyone has a plan. Do you have a plan? Take our 10 minute estate plan audit to get started.

Learn More

Your Guide to 2021 Year-End Charitable Giving

Hands holding change with "make a change" note

Your Guide to 2021 Year-End Charitable Giving

by Rev. Bill Gruenewald

As the year comes to a close, many of us are thinking about our year-end giving. Though the pandemic has brought financial challenges for many people, there are many charitable strategies that can help when tax time rolls around. Now is a great time to review some charitable giving ideas and see if any make sense to implement before 2021 ends, especially as you think about supporting your church or other Baptist cause.  


For 2021:

Above-the-Line Deduction for Cash Contributions

  • If you currently use the standard deduction for taxes, you can claim an additional deduction up to $300 (couples can claim up to $600) for cash donations to public charities this year.

Modification of the Charitable Deduction Limit

  • If you itemize deductions, you can elect to use the CARES Act 100% of AGI deduction limit for cash contributions to public charities. This incentive ends on December 31, 2021 and the deduction limit for cash donations reverts back to 60% in 2022.

Make a Regular Donation 

The easiest way to make a gift is to simply write a check or donate online (if your church has this capability). If your check is postmarked by December 31 or if your online donation is processed by December 31 (note that the time of day may be important), you may be able to take a charitable deduction for the gift, depending on your particular tax situation.

Batching Contributions

For 2021, the standard deduction is $12,550 for individuals and $25,100 for couples. Overall, this is great for taxpayers, but it does make it a bit harder to take advantage of deducting charitable contributions if your overall deductions do not exceed the standard deduction. 

One strategy around this issue is to “batch” your charitable contributions, meaning that you combine this year’s gifts with what you anticipate giving next year and make both contributions in 2021. You’re basically loading up two years of gifts in one tax year. Thus, you have a higher charitable amount to apply towards your deductions in 2021, which may yield better results than simply taking the standard deduction.  

Give Gifts of Appreciated Assets 

With the improved financial markets, many people now find themselves holding stocks, bonds, mutual funds or real estate that have significantly increased in value. Selling these assets may create substantial capital gains for the owner. 

However, rather than increasing your tax burden, you can donate the appreciated asset to your favorite Baptist cause. You get a deduction for the full market value of the asset, and the charity recognizes no gains when it sells the asset. Win-win! 

Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) / Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD)

For those with traditional IRA accounts, if you are aged 70 ½ or older and have other sources of income to draw upon, you can direct your IRA custodian to transfer a portion of your retirement assets to a public charity as a qualified charitable distribution (QCD). The donation counts as part of your Required Minimum Distribution but is not included in your taxable income.


Remember, when the ball drops on December 31, you will lose the ability to take advantage of these strategies for 2021. If any of these ideas interest you, begin the process now to make sure you allow plenty of time for the process to be completed by year-end. 

The Tennessee Baptist Foundation is ready to answer any questions you may have about these year-end tax strategies. Contact us any time at 615-371-2029. We would love to help.


Ready to get started?

You can reach us via phone at (615) 371-2029 or fill out this form.

Please note that the advice offered in this article is not intended to be construed as tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice for the reader. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.

Everyone has an estate, but not everyone has a plan. Do you have a plan? Take our 10 minute estate plan audit to get started.

Learn More

Advance Care Directive: More Comprehensive Than A Living Will

Senior Couple Sitting at the Lake

What’s More Important Than a Living Will?

By Rev. Bill Gruenewald

Even if you are in perfect health, it is important to be prepared for the eventual day you are called home. Having a solid estate plan is the foundation of that preparation, and something everyone should have to ensure they do not unnecessarily burden those they leave behind.

A Living Will outlines what preferences you have for your end-of-life care. Not to be confused with a Last Will & Testament, which determines distribution of your assets, a Living Will specifies things like Do Not Resuscitate orders, what pain medications may be used, and organ donor status. 

Historically, a Living Will was used in conjunction with an Advanced Care Plan and a Medical Power of Attorney Form to form the basis of medical decision-making should a person be unable to coherently make those decisions on their own. In 2017, the Tennessee Department of Health combined these three documents into a single, comprehensive document called the Advance Directive for Health Care.

Why You Need An Advance Care Directive

While the documents used before 2017 are still valid, having an up-to-date Advance Care Directive lets you answer all of the important questions about end-of-life care so your family doesn’t have to. These questions include:

Who gets to make decisions for you?

Assigning someone Medical Power of Attorney means that you control who makes decisions if you are unable to do so. You do not want to put your spouse or your children in the uncomfortable position of having to decide who gets the final word in your treatment. Dealing with the declining health of a loved one is difficult enough.

Comfort care vs. clinical care

When dealing with a potentially terminal illness, decisions must be made whether to treat it aggressively by any means necessary or to prioritize comfort. Also known as palliative care, comfort care preferences include things like pain medication options, avoiding invasive procedures, or being allowed to die at home instead of the hospital.

Organ and tissue donation

Many states allow you to choose your organ donation status at the DMV when you get a new driver’s license. However, an Advance Care Directive allows you to update this information as well as specify which organs and tissues you are willing to donate.

DNR & emergency treatments

It’s important to decide which emergency treatments you are willing to undergo, as some can be extremely invasive. Some people want to use every means necessary for treatment, while others have a line they prefer not to cross. Setting these boundaries in an Advance Care Directive means others don’t have to make that decision for you. This includes distinctions for: 

  • Do Not Resuscitate orders
  • Do Not Intubate orders
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Dialysis
  • Tube feeding

Don’t let these important questions go unanswered

These are unpleasant topics to think about, but they are necessary. Families shouldn’t have to deal with an avalanche of difficult questions and decisions when a loved one is in a terminal condition. Giving your family clarity on your final wishes is one of the best gifts you can give.

If you are unprepared for the end of your life, we are here to help. Contact us today and we’ll walk you through the first steps in preparing the necessary documents. Please, don’t wait. The peace of mind you and your family will have should the unexpected happen is invaluable.

You can reach us via phone at (615) 371-2029 or fill out this form.

Everyone has an estate, but not everyone has a plan. Do you have a plan? Take our 10 minute estate plan audit to get started.

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Bobby Bowden Leaves a Legacy Worth Remembering

Bobby Bowden in 2007, in the Florida House of Representatives

Bobby Bowden Leaves a Legacy Worth Remembering

By Rev. Bill Gruenewald

Bobby Bowden, head coach of the Florida State Seminoles from 1976–2009 and one of the greatest football coaches to ever live, went on to his eternal rest on August 8, 2021. Coach Bowden was known by his players, colleagues, and friends as a man who loved football, but he prioritized his faith and his family.

As a football coach, Coach Bowden’s resume is stunning. He was 377-129-4 with two national championships and 12 conference title wins. Talk to anyone who knew him, though, and football isn’t usually the first thing to come up. 

A public celebration of life was held at the Tucker Civic Center, at which over 300 coaches and players came to pay their respects. One of those in attendance was Warrick Dunn, a retired NFL player with a successful 12-year career. 

“He believed in me, and that’s a powerful thing for an 18-year-old who’s just trying to figure out life,” said Dunn. “Coach is the type of man who uses faith and wisdom to shape boys into men.”

Dunn went on to point out that three of Coach Bowden’s players went on to win the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for community service: Derrick Brooks, Anquon Boldin, and himself. That is a glowing testament to the character of Coach Bowden and his ability to develop the character of his players.

“Don’t go to the grave with life unused.”

Bobby Bowden

It was Coach Bowden’s faith that made him such an incredible leader of men, and he made no effort to hide it. On the contrary, Bowden’s faith was front and center of his personal and professional lives.

“Faith is the most important thing in the world to me. It’s the greatest strength I’ve had. It’s helped me get through the hard times. You’re not going to win every one of your football games. I’ve always said I’m not going to make football my god.”

Coach Bowden was an amazing football coach, but an even better father, husband, and mentor. His impact on the lives of the people around him can’t be overstated, and there is no better reflection of Christ’s love than that.

One of Coach Bowden’s most famous quotes is also one of his shortest: “Don’t go to the grave with life unused.”

As we reflect on the legacy and example that Coach Bowden left us with, it’s only natural to look inward on our own lives. What will our legacy be? What will we leave behind? Are we striving to leave legacies that will impact generations to come?

Each of us has the opportunity to leave a legacy from our estate. We have the resources to leave a legacy for our family, but even more than that, we can leave a legacy of faith for the next generation. If each of us leaves just a portion of our estate for Kingdom purposes, think of the legacy of faith we leave for the next generation and how these resources will be used to share the gospel of Jesus Christ for many years to come.


To learn more about how you can cement your legacy of faith, click here to speak with one of our team members or give us a call at (615) 371-2029

Please note that the advice offered in this article is not intended to be construed as tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice for the reader. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.

Everyone has an estate, but not everyone has a plan. Do you have a plan? Take our 10 minute estate plan audit to get started.

Learn More

Steward Your Blessings Well with Faith-Based Estate Planning

James & family in church pews

Steward Your Blessings Well with Faith-Based Estate Planning

By Rev. Bill Gruenewald


Missed Opportunities

Have you ever cleaned out a drawer and found a valuable coupon that expired two days ago and realized you stopped by that store a week ago and purchased something? I have, and I’m sure this has happened to many of you at one time or another. You just missed an opportunity to save some money.

What many Christians do not realize is that they may be missing out on one of the biggest opportunities they have to contribute to the Kingdom. Many of us have the capacity and the heart to do something great financially for the church, but we are only focused on our weekly giving. Luckily, there is a way to give now that will make a huge impact on the next generation of believers.

For most of us, the largest single monetary gift we can make to our church is one that will come from our estate after we’re gone. The sad truth is that this does not happen very often. Statistics reveal that only 2% of Christians leave an estate gift for their church. Why is that so low? Is it because we do not believe in the work of their church or the Kingdom of God? Of course not! The reality is that most people haven’t considered it because no one showed them how.

Rick and Helene’s Story

Rick and Helene are members of a local church in middle Tennessee. They are working to build the Kingdom here and now, and they have a vision to continue God’s work after they’re gone. Rick shared a few thoughts as to why he felt they need to have an estate plan and why he wants part of it to go carry on God’s work after he and Helene are gone:

“We originally decided to put together an estate plan when we created our first will just before we left for our first international mission trip to Kenya, Africa. We wanted to create a basic framework for an estate plan that would provide for our children as well as provide an ongoing way for our estate money to continue to provide ministry assistance after we are gone. At that time, we didn’t understand everything we needed to know about an estate plan, but the person we worked with at the Tennessee Baptist Foundation explained everything in a way we could understand.

As the process of creating an estate plan was explained to us, the opportunity to leave a small portion (actually a tithe) of our estate to continued ministry really appealed to us. And it made a lot of sense. We have been faithful tithers for all of our married life and we wanted to continue to do that through our estate plan. As we have been involved in a variety of ministries through our local church, international missions, and sponsoring children through Compassion International, we have been incredibly blessed. We had a desire to bless these ministries after our deaths.

Working with TBF was extremely easy and comfortable. They made sure we had all of our questions answered while creating a will and estate plan for the very first time. It also made a lot of financial sense to us to use TBF. At the time of the creation of our will, there was a provision that the service was offered for free as long as a portion of the estate was left to Baptist causes. We were very interested in that anyway, so it just made sense. Everyone we have worked with at TBF have been incredibly helpful, very friendly, and extremely knowledgeable.”

Are you like Rick and Helene? Do you long to do more for God’s Kingdom and ensure your blessings are used properly after you’ve gone? Do not miss this opportunity to cement your legacy and bless the next generation.

How to create an estate plan with the TBF

Thousands of Christians throughout Tennessee faithfully give to their church throughout the year, but many don’t realize that their faithfulness and generosity can continue to impact the world for generations to come.

In this short video, you can see what that process looks like.

Steward Your Blessings Well – Tennessee Baptist Foundation

Prepare today & advance the Kingdom tomorrow

When you prepare your estate with the future of the church in mind, you are empowering the work of God beyond your own lifetime. It’s a way to show what is important to you, proclaim your faith, and set an example for those who will come after you. 

At the Tennessee Baptist Foundation, we have experts who can guide you on faith-based estate planning, planned giving guidance, and even church fund management.

Everyone has an estate

Estate planning isn’t just for the wealthy. Everyone should have some form of estate plan in place for after they’re gone. It eases the burden on those left behind and ensures that your vision for the resources God has blessed upon you comes to fruition.

68% of Americans don’t have a will or estate plan while 64% of parents do not have a will or trust. Don’t wait to set up this important foundation until it is too late.

We can help

At the TBF, we can walk you through how to set up an estate plan from start to finish. That includes a Last Will and Testament, assigning power of attorney, creating an advance care plan, and forming a trust.

Contact us to speak to a representative today. You can reach us via phone at (615) 371-2029 or fill out this form.


Please note that the advice offered in this article is not intended to be construed as tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice for the reader. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.

Everyone has an estate, but not everyone has a plan. Do you have a plan? Take our 10 minute estate plan audit to get started.

Learn More

Church Fund Management

fund managers

Earn More on your Church’s Investment with TBF Fund Management

By Rev. Bill Gruenewald

Right now, bank money market accounts are providing returns of only 0.25% – 0.5%. That means for every $1,000 your church has invested, you are receiving at best only $5 per year. 

On March 17, 2021, the Federal Reserve announced it’s keeping interest rates steady following its meeting, leaving the federal funds rate at a range of 0 to 0.25 percent. This follows the Fed’s decision to hold rates near zero until the economy has weathered the effects of COVID-19. 

While this is good news for borrowers, it is not good news for savers! So where does the church invest to get more interest on their funds so that it can be used to fund the ministry of the church? The Tennessee Baptist Foundation.

One of the most popular services we offer is the management of funds for churches, associations and institutions of the Tennessee Baptist Convention (TBC) in our Fixed Income Pool. The foundation is typically able to offer greater rates of return than those available through commercial institutions. Assets managed in this way are invested in socially screened, investment-grade securities that include government agency bonds, corporate bonds and corporate preferred stock. These are purchased at par and held to maturity or until they are called. 

These funds are not FDIC insured and do have a slight amount of risk, but the Fixed Pool has provided significantly greater returns than bank money market accounts over the past 10 years. To support our ministry to Tennessee Baptist churches, associations, institutions, and organizations/ministries, the Foundation charges a modest cost-recovery fee of 0.40% annually for this fund management service.

The goal of the Foundation’s asset management service is to earn a good rate of return for the church with minimal risk so that more funds go back into the ministry of the church. (The Foundation does not manage money or investments for individuals except within revocable or charitable trust arrangements.)

Types of funds the Foundation manages include:

  • Building Funds – A building fund may be in place a few months to several years before it is needed. During the accumulation phase, we help the church or association earn the best rate of return on its savings. 
  • Permanent Funds – Permanent funds include mission funds, reserve funds, and endowment funds. They are dedicated to various ministries and missions of the church, association, or institutions of the TBC. Their purpose is to produce income that can be used according to the policy of the church. Many churches are developing endowments to support missions or provide for the maintenance of facilities in the future. As an example, the Foundation manages the Cooperative Program Endowment Fund of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board.

If you’d like to explore the possibility of a fund management relationship with the TBF and get a better return on your church’s investment, please contact us. We are ready to partner with you!


Ready to get started?

You can reach us via phone at (615) 371-2029 or fill out this form.

Please note that the advice offered in this article is not intended to be construed as tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice for the reader. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.

Everyone has an estate, but not everyone has a plan. Do you have a plan? Take our 10 minute estate plan audit to get started.

Learn More
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