Family Systems Basics about Money at Church 5: Differentiated Leadership

How do you get more reflective about your experiences with money at church? This is the fifth of a series of posts briefly looking at some basic systems ideas in relation to church and money.

Differentiated leadership. Those leaders who make a lasting contribution in church finances are the ones who are able to show up and take responsibility for themselves and their own leadership role. Leaders who function this way will be able to say, “Here’s what I think about how we should handle this budget situation,” without trying to convince or cajole others, and without cutting off or avoiding those who take a different view. They can manage their anxiety about money, and relate to others who have their own anxiety about money, in a highly-anxious culture. Increase your ability to do this even a little, and you will make a big difference in your experience of ministry, and even in the church’s financial life.

Nevertheless, even the best, most mature leadership is not magic. Functioning in this way does not necessarily guarantee the financial results you want. Parish money life includes many variables: the congregation’s history, the emotional maturity and financial well-being of the current membership, the wider economy. My grandmother used to say, “Do your best: angels can’t do better.” I suggest the same approach to leading your congregation in this area of church finance – do your best, and let go of the rest.

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