Good For You!

I love that you want to dive a little deeper and keep learning. That’s one of the most important traits in any leader I know who’s making a lasting impact.

Now for today, and the next two days, I’ll email you with tips and strategies to help take you further into the topic of relationships. All you need to do is experiment with the ideas I present. Notice how you react to them, what comes up for you, and then try out some of the strategies. And be sure to let me know what happens.

Before I close, I want to share a little story. It’s about money, because if this was 10 years ago, I would’ve raised my hand to learn more about how to feel more confident with $$$.

For a long time I found money to be one of the most challenging areas of ministry. I absolutely dreaded stewardship time and was relieved when it was over. I did my best to read the church’s financial statements each month, but I was never confident about it. I clearly remember how it was, as a young pastor, to sit with the executive committee and feel light-headed and slightly nauseous. These older men and women, most of them with backgrounds in business, looked to me while these words pounded in my head: “I have no idea what I’m doing.”

I was interested, but afraid.

In my own family, there was always a powerful sense of scarcity. Even though my parents gave generously and taught me to tithe, it always felt like there was, and would never be, enough. My father’s challenging Depression-era upbringing and the financial difficulties of earlier generations deeply shaped him, and me in turn. Money was something that existed, but no one liked talking about it. Money was something you had to deal with, not something that worked for you. Can you relate? When I found myself having conversations about money, and leading initiatives around giving, I was at a loss. And quite frankly, I was terrified to lead in this area.

So, what helped me?

First, I worked hard to see stewardship as ministry. I reframed it from an annoyance to a tool to make the ministry I loved possible. I actively started to learn details around financials, and gained more competence. I stepped out of my comfort zone and began asking people to give. I honestly explored my own multigenerational family story, and the strengths and traumas that shaped me in relation to money.

I came to see money as a great resource in ministry and in life, rather than something scary or tainted. Used rightly, money can be a blessing for us and for others.

It was deeply liberating to feel a sense of competence and even power in this area as a pastor. I continued to grow in clarity and confidence. Of course, that wasn’t the end. I’m still on my journey with money. And I’ve come a long way.

I know what it’s like to struggle in this area as a leader. That’s why I’m committed to helping pastors and lay leaders gain more comfort in talking about money in church life and making better decisions about it. I also know what a difference we can make when we mobilize resources, both financial and personal, to make more ministry happen. I wrote Money and Your Ministry out of a sense of conviction that pastors need help getting more thoughtful and clear in this critical area of ministry. And what I’m hearing from people is that it’s a real help to them. I’m continuing to develop resources to support you and your congregations in this area.

Money, of course, is only one challenging area of life in ministry. I’m honored to support ministers with all their different situations and needs. Thanks for joining this community. Stay tuned and keep up the important work!