I am honored to lead the Resources Division at LifeWay and serve with a team of leaders who are passionate to serve the Church in her mission of making disciples. Each Wednesday, I share the heart behind one of the resources our team has developed and give an opportunity for you to register to win a free resource. This week’s resource is The Money Challenge by Art Rainer. Our B&H associate publisher, Taylor Combs, has written an encouraging piece on how church leaders can discuss money in a helpful way.
There is perhaps no more awkward topic of conversation in our culture than money. For some, it’s a point of humiliation—they don’t want to discuss money because their lack of it causes them to feel shame. For others, it’s a point of fear—they don’t want to discuss money because they know they haven’t been spending wisely, and they don’t want to be reprimanded. For others still, it’s a point of ignorance—they don’t want to talk about money because they are afraid they’ll sound uneducated in a conversation about investment, saving, and emergency funds. Typically, the only people who like talking about money are the people nobody wants to hear talk about money—those who tell you how much they have!
But Jesus was not afraid to talk about money. In fact, He talked about money more than He talked about heaven and hell combined. Why did He discuss this topic so often? I think Jesus talked about money so much because how we spend our money, more clearly than perhaps any other measure, reveals what our hearts truly desire.
Recent statistics on debt in America reveal that we need to be more like Jesus and have some conversations about money.
In 2016, the average American household had about $16,000 of credit card debt, about $29,000 of car loans, and about $49,000 of student loans. That’s almost $95,000 of debt, not even including mortgage debt!
These numbers don’t tell us anything about the ethics of borrowing money—and that’s not our point either. They do, however, tell us this: Americans are spending a lot of money we don’t have.
How can churches respond in a helpful way to these patterns?
1. Get Biblical
The first step is to get biblical. Where the Bible speaks to wealth, we should speak to wealth. Where the Bible speaks to debt, we should speak to debt. Churches and church leaders must be faithful in their biblical teaching and preaching to cast a God-centered vision of money for Christians.
Many will be surprised to learn that the most foundational passage about money is in the Bible’s opening pages—and it doesn’t even explicitly mention money. Genesis 1:28 reveals that one of the chief responsibilities of God’s image bearers is to faithfully steward His possessions. The baseline for our handling of money must be an understanding that it is not actually our money—we are simply stewards of what belongs to God.
2. Get Practical
Churches must offer their members practical solutions to the problems they face when it comes to money. Provide small group resources. Stock up on helpful books. Connect struggling members with those who are gifted in the area of financial planning and personal budgeting. Provide access to helpful budgeting programs. If we don’t provide real-life help, then real-life problems won’t go anywhere.
3. Get Generous
With your money. With your time. With your building (if you have one). Embrace the biblical principle of stewardship and imitate the generosity of God in Christ. Provide opportunities for people to give and to serve. Exhort one another to embrace selflessness. As you do this, and as the Spirit works in the hearts of you and those around you, you will see God creating a culture that holds money and other resources with an open hand, in a way that honors God.
We cannot afford to avoid the awkward conversation of money any longer; too many need help. We have to follow the example of our Lord Jesus and wade into this difficult conversation. When we do, we must get biblical, practical, and generous. By doing so, we will help our people become faithful stewards of the resources God has placed in our care.
Enter here or in the form below by 11:59pm tonight, Wednesday, July 12, 2017 for your chance to win 1 of 10 copies of The Money Challenge by Art Rainer. Winners will be notified by email within a couple of days.
In The Money Challenge, Art Rainer takes you on a journey to financial health. But it is not simply for the sake of financial health. The Money Challenge was written to help you experience God’s design for you and your finances.
Visit http://themoneychallengebook.com to purchase your copy today.