The most faithful of church people are bombarded with ads many times a day, more each year. Businesses ask them for their money constantly. Few are able to create space to reflect on what it might mean to bring their faith into these decisions. Helping people do this reflection is an important ministry need.
Here are four ways to work on it in your own ministry:
1. Focus on your own growth in this area.
It’s hard–even impossible—to teach what you don’t know. You, too, are receiving the same flood of messages. You, too, may be thoughtlessly spending money, without reflecting on your values. It’s easy to do. Try this: write down everything you spend for a day. Then review the list in prayer. What do you notice?
2. Invite your congregation into some new practices.
Without criticizing them or denouncing our materialistic culture, simply ask them to consider their everyday money practices in the light of their beliefs and values. Try this: have someone who does this already share for a moment or two before the offering. Ask them to talk briefly about their own practice in relation to their money—not necessarily about giving, but about their spending practices.
3. Talk about faith and money when you are not asking them to give.
Think of it as pastoral support and encouragement, not stewardship. Separate it from stewardship. Simply offer a sermon on this topic, months apart from stewardship season.
4. Start them out young.
Incorporate some kind of money awareness into your programming for children and youth. It’s easier to create new habits when you are young than change them when you are older.
5. Create some structure.
Use the church calendar to encourage some more focused practices. Try this: this Advent, create some opportunity to reflect on their holiday spending. This is also a great way to work on #4, as families can bring their children and teenagers into the conversation. Check out http://www.adventconspiracy.org/ for some resources. And next month I’ll be releasing a new resource to help you do this in your church
What ideas do you have to help people live a faithful life in relation to their resources?