The concept of retirement benefits was a 20th century invention. Even religious organizations expected lifetime service of their clergy and religious workers.
Henry Morehouse, MMBB’s visionary founder, frequently described Baptist pastors as “Old Soldiers of the Cross.” It’s easy to see why. In 1900, the average annual salary among Northern Baptist ministers was $683, the lowest among mainline Christian denominations.
This situation also caused problems for churches. A pastor continuing primarily out of necessity might not have the fresh vision and energy needed to inspire and grow the congregation.
As early as 1882, Morehouse began arguing for the need to provide financial support for retiring ministers. At the 1908 meeting of the Northern Baptist Convention in Oklahoma City, Morehouse presented a resolution to study how the denomination could offer a pioneering benefit to its pastors.
The resolution passed – creating a formal mechanism for Morehouse to pursue his vision.