How would you like to see a 400% increase in an area of your church’s income?
Just this week I was coaching a pastor and he shared with me the exciting news that they had increased their mission’s giving by 400%.
Last year I did a consult with his church and recommended they make a significant change to their approach to raising funds for missions. They considered my idea and then went about implementing our strategy with diligence and hard work.
Now they are reaping the rewards of a 400% increase.
Today I am launching a series of best practices in church finances. Over a few posts, I’ll guide you through twelve best practices that I guarantee will improve the health of your church when they are diligently applied.
The Collision of Financial Worlds
Your church has a financial world.
Everyone in your church has a financial world.
It is the coming together of these worlds that makes the stewardship of resources one of the most challenging and stressful realms of ministry.
Wrestling with the diverse attitudes; juggling faith and wisdom; battling discouragement and stress; asking and receiving.
There are few arenas as intimidating, as demanding in the world of pastoral leadership as this one.
Thus it requires us to be prayerful, knowledgeable and discerning as we lead our churches into Christ honouring best practices in church finances.
1. God Is Your Provider
The bedrock foundation of a church’s financial world is trust in Christ as your provider.
While there should be multiple sources of income that will flow into your church a discerning pastor and Christ-honoring church will attribute their provision to Christ.
The Scripture is replete with a wide array of provision stories ranging from manna in the wilderness for Israel’s journeys to inherited lands for Joshua’s generation through to Jesus multiplying the fish and loaves and a coin in a fish’s mouth.
God delights in providing for His children and expects us to trust Him and look to Him as our ultimate provider of the resources which we will ultimately steward.
Some people morph this truth of provision into a self-focused grab for everything. Creflo’s Dollar controversial campaign to raise millions for a jet shows us that you can take this truth to ridiculous levels.
Nevertheless looking to Christ as our provider is the number one when it comes to best practices in church finances.
2. Steward Your Resources
Another best practice in church finances regarding the use of resources is the principle of stewardship.
Stewardship is defined as the entrusted management and care of resources that belong to someone else.
The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it Psalm 24:1
In reality, we really do own nothing but are stewards of the resources Christ has placed into our hands.
As Job succinctly noted:
Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I will depart Job 1:21
Stewardship not only points us towards the rightful owner, it also alerts us to the question of accountability. If all the resources we manage belong to the Lord then one day we will give an account to Him of how we utilised those resources.
As leaders in Christ’s church, we will give an account for not only the stewardship of our own private resources but of those that moved through our church.
This sobering principle should awaken in us a deep resolve to be prayerful leaders of integrity, innovation and faith as we steward the resources God has given us in our church.
My gorgeous wife Dianne has occasionally reminded me that when we are spending church funds we are spending tithes and offerings given by widows, solo mums and people who are battling to make ends meet.
Her words are a stark reminder to me that all church funds are to be stewarded with care, diligence and reverence for Christ the owner.
I think that’s sufficient reason for me to believe that no Christian leader really needs to own a $65 million jet!
3. Financial Intelligence
Every pastor and Christian leader should seek to become financially intelligent for two main reasons.
Firstly, there is a clear connection between the character needed to order your financial world and that needed to order your leadership world.
People with poor financial habits who mismanage their own finances and lack financial integrity will never succeed over the long haul in leading a church to its ultimate fruitfulness.
Secondly, money plays a significant role in the lives of the people you shepherd.
When you can lead your people to better financial management and increased financial intelligence you are discipling them into Christ’s image.
Therefore, you should have a clear understanding of personal finance issues such as
- credit cards
- interest rates
- various types of debt
Many years ago Di and I made a radical move
A move that no one should emulate. While this move has a message I don’t consider it a model for others to follow.
What was the move? We sold our family home and rented for two years.
We then parked a significant portion of our equity at the bank for safekeeping and used the remaining portion to experience the world of investments.
We bought shares and jumped into the world of property investment.
We made money and lost money.
We had realised that our financial intelligence was low and we decided to do something out of the box to shift our mindset and establish new habits and beliefs.
The journey changed us and increased our financial intelligence.
While you should not copy us you could always do something simple like buying a few shares and experience the various emotions of fear and greed that accompany investing.
This will enable you to understand money and its power in a truly experiential way.
Either way, it’s important for pastors and Christian leaders to become increasingly financially intelligent.