Here are six things church leaders often say about money that aren’t true. Strictly speaking, they aren’t lies, since often those leaders believe them to be true. They all get in the way of finding the resources you need to carry out ministry.
- We don’t have enough money. Here’s another view from Episcopal priest, Howard Anderson: “The church budget is this: What is God calling us to do, and what does it cost? That’s the budget. God gives us all we have, so all we’re doing is giving back a small portion of that. In 34 years of full-time ministry, every time I’ve taken the risk to step out and say, we really need to do this because we all know God is calling us, the money comes.” In fact, a vision of God’s call gives you the energy to find the money to fulfill the call.
- Our people are giving all they can. The average Christian gives about 2% of their income. Of course, people struggle with debt which can make it hard to decide to give more. (See this article by Israel Galindo.) Yet most people can make some choices (give up a daily latte, for example) which will enable them to give more, if they have a reason to do so.
- Money is the root of all evil. Many church people are afraid of dealing with money, talking openly about it and spending it appropriately on ministry. They may not say that money is the root of all evil, but they act like it. Of course, the real biblical quite is “the love of money is the root of all evil.” (I Timothy 6:10)
- Cutting the budget is our only choice. There are times for a thoughtful budget cutback. Yet all too often, that’s the first resort, not the last. Instead of “How are we going to cut the budget so it balances, a different question is, “What are the many ways we can have a balanced or close-to-balanced budget?” Try it. You’ll come up with a variety of solutions to choose from.
- People will get upset if we talk about money more. Given that many churches only talk about it once a year, “more” doesn’t mean much of an increase. A quarterly focus on giving, or on how to grow a spiritual approach to our resources, will be a real contribution to your people. And the people who get most upset usually are giving nothing.
- We’re a poor church. You’re only a poor church if you think you are. A key leader said to one minister, “This should be a poor church.” Sometimes leaders think the people need to think the church is poor or they won’t keep giving. In fact, people are more likely to be motivated to give to a going concern that has a lively mission.
Are you and your leaders telling themselves any of these lies?
Image courtesy of Israel Galindo