In most restaurants, I am an excellent tipper. I learned early on that the church crowd was often loathed by the average waiter and waitress because we could be stingy and even worse, possibly smugly spiritual when leaving tracts rather than a generous tip. I love to read about the people who visit a restaurant and leave an obscene tip of 100 times or more the cost of the meal and then slip out quietly so as to minimize fanfare. Generosity is an anti cultural powerful declaration of a different value system and it catches people’s attention.
The Apostle Paul, in guiding the church in Corinth, points to a compelling example of a church which was exemplary in generosity. Read 2 Corinthians 8 to see how Paul brags on the Macedonian church as a way to inspire the Corinthian church to deepen their commitment to the act of grace called giving. Generosity is contagious and it is the mark of God’s grace empowering people to see that this life is not all that there is. We store up treasures in heaven by leveraging moments of obedience and opportunity through generosity here on earth.
Too often we pastors only preach on money when we are not making budget OR when there is a special project requiring special money be given. Our congregations see through this even when we say we are only teaching because it is God’s plan and pattern. America is the land of opportunity and has amassed such great wealth and power through that wealth. As Spiderman’s Uncle is famously quoted as saying “with great power comes great responsibility.”
Pastors MUST preaching biblical stewardship and anchor it in the calendar of the church no matter the budget or need. We live in a highly materialistic society and our people are constantly bombarded with messages that money is the source of all happiness. This lie surrounds every transaction your people experience. Teach on the 4 fundamental biblical categories involving wealth: earning, saving, giving, and spending. Every Bible verse re: money can be categorized under one of those guiding concepts. When was the last time you taught on saving or earning?
Here are 5 questions every pastor can ask themselves when it comes to their leadership and money.
- Am I leading this church to be financially healthy, focused, and solvent?
- How does my understanding of the balance sheet, profit and loss statement, and the budget impact my leadership of the church?
- How often do I use financial health as an application in my preaching so people see that the gospel impacts stewardship?
- When and where does our congregation discuss the financial health of the church without casting shame or criticism?
- What systems are in place (other than sermons) to assure that we are routinely training and helping our people to get out of suffocating debt and develop a Christ-honoring mentality around wealth management?