Last week I spent time sharing at a preacher’s breakfast with some wonderful men of God here in Ontario, Canada. I spent many of my formative years in this area and many of those who attended are spiritual mentors with years of ministry experience. I was honored to be able to present some of my reflections on finances from a biblical perspective. I hope I was able to provide some valuable information, but at the very least I know I learned some things.
In the presentation we covered the following topics:
- What does money have to do with ministry?
- Did Jesus talk about money?
- Why did Jesus talk so much about money?
The following are my observations from the discussion following my presentation:
- There is a correlation between giving and church involvement. Those active in the church are more likely to contribute with time, energy, and money.
- Some churches have minimized the spiritual element of giving. In church services they quickly pass through contribution time as if it is something to be embarrassed about. At times we may leave the impression that what we are collecting is ‘club fees’ instead of allowing people to participate in an activity because of the graciousness of God he allows us to share.
- Churches need to have full financial disclosure. Church leaders should always make important financial documents available to the membership.
- People tend to approach the topic of giving as bad news. At times preachers are hesitant to approach the topic.
- Members do not want to feel manipulated. Don’t just talk about giving when the church budget is running low.
Implications for the church going forward:
- We need to learn to fully develop a healthy theology of giving. Why do people give? Why should people give? Why should the church teach about giving?
- Because of ‘conflict of interest’, churches should consider the timing of lessons about money and specifically giving. When church funds are low or at budget season, the assumption is the lesson is giving for monetary purposes and not spiritual purposes. Perhaps a seminar or guest speaker might ease peoples’ suspicions.
- People need money help, guidance, and advice. Churches could provide financial seminars as a way to reach out to non-Christians.