The Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board (MMBB) was shaped by a mandate “to promote interest in the better maintenance of the ministry.” The incorporators defined “maintenance” in monetary terms. They sought to provide benefits to aged and disabled ministers and missionaries who were qualified by worthy service, and their dependents. To accomplish this goal, the founders understood the need to build a sound financial base.
Over its century of service, MMBB has remained focused on that goal by providing pension, disability and, later, health benefits for ordained and lay staff alike. Initially focused on institutions associated with the Northern Baptist Convention (later renamed the American Baptist Convention and then American Baptist Churches USA), MMBB now offers benefits to any church or faith-based organization with similar faith and practice of ABCUSA.
The last century also saw an expansion in the definition of “maintenance.” It has come to include emergency assistance to those in need, administrative support for churches, and advocacy for civil rights.
From H. Pearson Hammond, MMBB’s first actuary:
“Prior to 1900 pensions were generally considered as charity. During the early years of this century some formal plans were established but few were scientifically financed. It was in the late ‘20s that plans sound in principle began to be developed in any volume. A generation ago churches in particular and people in general were not pension conscious. The fund, therefore, was a pioneer in this field of endeavor.”