Ten Reasons to Celebrate that Your Church Doesn’t Have Enough Money

You can transform your experience of your church financial life if, rather than bemoaning the fact that you don’t have money, you celebrate it. While we would all prefer to have more money rather than less, there can be benefits. When the money is pouring in, churches can face difficult decisions, conflict about what to do with resources, and lack of mission focus. I know one church which is about to receive a legacy of a million dollars. Its leaders are deeply concerned about whether this means members will feel able to coast, or will see the money as a way to maintain the church for themselves rather than looking for new ways to do ministry. Money doesn’t solve as many problems as we think it does.

Anxiety about a tight budget is understandable and to a degree inevitable, yet you can begin to choose a different response. Notice the conversations you and other leaders in your church have about the budget, about giving, about what you can and can’t do with your resources. See if you can shift your own attitudes – simply your own, not others. Don’t try to be a cheerleader or convince others to look on the bright side. Just say, “Here’s how I see it.” In fact, even if you never say a word about it, your new perspective will still impact the conversations. You’ll be in a different place.

Here are ten reasons to celebrate when you don’t have enough:
1. You have the opportunity to educate new givers and to challenge others to give more.
2. You have the opportunity to challenge people to do ministry.
3. You are forced to make some choices about what is most important to you together.
4. You can’t waste money.
5. You can’t be staff-heavy.
6. You don’t take things for granted: you can celebrate what you do have.
7. You have a reason to ask people to make planned gifts to ensure the ministry continues into the future.
8. You can’t put off the hard conversations about money, which is actually a blessing.
9. You know you are in good company, as many churches and other institutions are facing the same challenges.
10. Your vision is bigger than your resources – this is a good thing.[1]

[1] I’m indebted to Dave Ellis for this idea.

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