August 1st, 2015

I have a friend who says his experience of money in the church is that the church asks him to give based on faith, which works just fine until the church budget is tight. Then, he says, they ask him
to give based on the numbers. “Which is it: faith or numbers?” he probes.

Issues around money are some of the most vexing matters faced by pastors and congregational leaders. Money issues are challenging because personal finances are a very private matter. Most people don’t discuss money with their closest friends, let alone their pastors. Many congregational leaders are hesitant to discuss giving in the church because they lack confidence about their own personal financial giving or are still suffering from a negative personal experience of a poorly conceived sermon on pledge Sunday. Money conversations in the church are fraught with both fear and complexity.

After years of fumbling, I found my voice as a pastor in teaching about and asking for money, but it wasn’t easy. I was forced to get over my hesitancy, believe in the ministry we were seeking to support, and trust ultimately in God’s ability to take my best, yet still feeble, effort and bring about an amazing result. It kept me awake all night in restless prayer before asking the major donor of the building campaign to consider doubling an already significant pledge, but the request ultimately opened his head and heart to the nudging of the Holy Spirit.

It’s time to believe in God again. When it comes to envisioning vital ministry and funding it, let’s stop running scared and instead step out boldly in faith. We can’t be lazy or foolish, but once we’ve done all the research and the preparation required, once we have listened and collaborated with trusted leaders, and once we have agreed upon a decision, let’s lead confidently by faith and be BOLD in our resolve to fully fund the ministry God is calling us to.

About the Author

Brian Milford

Brian K. Milford is the Chief Content Officer & Book Editor of The United Methodist Church. He has served read more…
comments powered by Disqus