News and Views

Yes, you should talk about money in church

Posted by Guest Author on

By Rachel Cornwell

 “I hate preaching about money.”
“Parishioners skip church if I’m giving a stewardship sermon.”
“Pastor, that sermon about church finances didn’t feed me spiritually.”

Many ministers have either said, or heard, comments like these when stewardship season rolls around and we have to talk about the church’s finances and people’s giving. But teaching about the importance of faithful stewardship is not only necessary, it can also be transformational for individuals and for congregations.

Most people want to be generous and they want to support the church of which they are apart, so it’s vitally important for congregational leaders to help people do that by regularly preaching and teaching about financial stewardship in three ways.

Make plain the vision.

Stewardship sermons should help people see what their giving can do to increase the ministry of the church and the impact it will have on people’s lives. Most church budgets are largely made up of staff and building costs, but without people to lead the church’s ministry, or without a building through which ministry happens, the church wouldn’t be as effective. Be sure to tell people not only what their giving has done in the past year, but how sustaining or even increasing that giving will enable the church to grow.

Money is a spiritual issue.

Jesus talked about money more than anything else, and people have a lot of worries, anxiety, guilt and shame around money. But it’s nothing more than a resource. We can experience both abundance and scarcity. We can use money in responsible, faithful ways, or frivolously. As spiritual leaders, we need to talk through the complex feelings people have around money and empower them to be faithful stewards of that which God has entrusted to them.

Budgets are moral documents and an indication of spiritual health.

Many people think that budgets are boring, but the financial health of your congregation, and how you spend the money that is given, are reflections of your church’s priorities. Do you have a capital reserve fund to care for your church facilities in the future? Are you paying your staff a living wage? Are funds for ministries of justice and compassion included in your budget? Jesus said, where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. These words apply not only to individuals, but to institutions as well.

 *The Rev. Rachel Cornwell is affiliated with The James Company; contact her at .