Academic journal article Baptist History and Heritage

MMBB: A Pioneer in Employee Benefits. the First 100 Years

Academic journal article Baptist History and Heritage

MMBB: A Pioneer in Employee Benefits. the First 100 Years

Article excerpt

MMBB: A Pioneer in Employee Benefits. The First 100 Years. By Everett C. Goodwin. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 2012. 328 pp.

The Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board celebrated its centennial by commissioning this written history of the organization authorized in 1911 and chartered in New York State in 1913. A work of business rather than religious history, MMBB tracks the roots of the retirement assistance movement in the Northern, later American, Baptist Convention (ABC) and associated denominations.

The work appropriately defines the setting, the need of underpaid ministers in a predominantly rural denomination characterized by relatively small congregations with limited means of supporting their ministers. Interestingly, at the time churches tended to dismiss their ministers when said ministers reached their early to mid fifties, because they believed that ministers began losing their abilities in that age range and because congregations feared being burdened by a superannuated and ineffective preacher for decades. There was no retirement provision. Charity retirement homes or low-pay, low-prestige work were the principal alternatives to destitution.

The MMBB was among the first retirement programs of any sort, not just ministerial. Its founders were cautious financially, hired experts, and developed a plan that provided charity for needy unemployed ministers but more significantly offered a defined benefit retirement plan for qualified participants choosing to contribute (or whose church took up the cost of contributing). …

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