This post is the first of what will hopefully be a series. I have asked some of my friends who are Pastors to give me an article about money from a pastoral point of view.
Money really sucks to talk about as a pastor. We pastors typically do not make much ourselves, give a lot away, and we dread the big ‘ask’ from others in our congregation to give generously to the church we lead. Its plain painful!
But I’m going to put the pain aside and simply give five things that need to be said. Pastors want to say these things, but we are tired and bummed that your wallet is the last thing in your life to ‘get saved!” There is no doubt pastors will be happy to read this and non-pastors will not agree…but here we go.
1- I wish you valued the reality that you feed my family.
It is not sexy to stand up in front of people and remind them that preparing a sermon is hard and takes time. Meeting with people is emotionally draining. Being on call all the time is hard. Raising up new leaders is hard. Doing administration is hard…ok—I’ll stop. But, by your generosity I can be freed up to do these things with my time AND take care of my family.
I know when pastors ask for money it’s usually for a special ministry project or a building or even the yearly budget. So the stories are big and we never will mention the reality that the church feeds our family. Ministry is a family affair and it really helps when we see the value of simply paying a pastor well and supporting his family.
2- I wish you would give to the church.
I’m really going to get in trouble for this but here we go— Give to your church. I know parachurches, individual mission trips, and everyone asks for money these days and I certainly see some really good causes to give to, but we see an example laid out in Acts 4 of the people (thousands of people) laying their material possessions at the apostles feet (the church leadership) to distribute.
Pastors often have a 30,000 foot view of ministry and can see more and prioritize needs better because of that view. There is a major trust factor that I know keeps many from giving to the church to use wisely (see 2 Corinthians 8:16-24) but if you have a strong opinion and you are generous giver your pastors will probably carefully listen to your as to how we serve the mission of the church. Prioritize giving generously to your church over all the good causes out there. If you have extra and sense God’s leading—give to these causes.
3- I wish you’d talk about your giving to others.
I have this odd theory that if Christians would be honest with each other about parenting and money we might see some real progress in sanctification. But as Americans, money is off limits (so is parenting).
How we handle our money should have accountability and wisdom. We need to talk about our budgets and our giving to one another. It’s tiring as a pastor to feel like I’m the only one willing to challenge people and call them to generosity. Talking about our money with one another also gives us the opportunity to meet serious needs without always going through the church leadership.
4- I wish you’d give regularly.
Many people seem to be really impulsive in their giving. Students are especially prone to this, maybe for good reasons like erratic pay days or gifts from their parents but when you go out of town for the summer, the churches ministries keep going. We are blessed to be in an age where we can give to the ministries of the church even when we aren’t there. Through your bank or maybe your church you can do automatic pay.
Budget your money so that you can give regularly and not just give the leftovers from the month.
5- I wish you actually had joy in generosity.
The bible calls us to be cheerful givers but it’s rare to find someone who is genuinely excited to give generously. If you aren’t, can you work through it? Is it your lack of trust of the churches leadership? Talk with your leaders. Is it an issue with your heart, maybe the history of your upbringing? Talk with your peers or leaders who can give you wisdom. Pray, read the bible and experience the joy of generosity.
I could add a few more “I wish” but for the sake of sounding too whiney and angsty I’ll stop. But it is an obvious aspect of our discipleship that is still immature. Give and give boldly.
Nick Nye is the founder and lead pastor of Veritas Community Church in Columbus, Ohio. Veritas began in October 2008 and has grown from a few people to a multi-congregation church seeking gospel transformation for the city. Nick preaches primarily at the Short North campus as well as various speaking engagements around the world.
Nick holds a B.A. in world religions and an M.Div. in missions. He has two certifications in coaching and coaches church leaders around the world.
Nick blogs at Nicknye.com
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