Sunday, March 16, 2014

Thoughts on Financial Principles for Church Leaders - Lesson 9

Biblical principles on financial management are a great treasure of wisdom for the church. These principles are very counter cultural. This was true of most of what Jesus taught both in his day and in ours. It is so normal in our culture to use debt in our everyday lives that we need to renew our minds in this area.

Prior to borrowing money for a church building project the church pastors and leaders should embark on a journey of discovery.

This journey of discovery needs to involve in-depth Bible study (start with the scripture in these posts, and there are many others), prayer, and reading some of the modern Christian authors on Biblical Finance such Larry Burkett and Dave Ramsey. I suggest this not because their books have any wisdom beyond scripture, but because they have done the work to seek out the scriptures and have organized scriptures and thought them through.

There is a tendency to try to make scripture fit into our cultural experience and norms. As a leadership team please be aware of this and keep your mind open to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

It is very important that the church is above reproach and sets the best possible example of financial integrity and leadership. In  the attempt to solve the need for funding for ministry and growth avoid the tendency to follow the cultural norms.

Larry Burkett in his book "Using Your Money Wisely" states "5 Reasons Why churches Should Not Borrow" (a summary of his list follows).
  1. Church leaders must study Scripture to see if borrowing is a compromise.
  2. Borrowing denies God's people the opportunity to see His blessings and generosity coming from His people as His provision.
  3. Servicing debt restricts a church's ability to serve.
  4. The loan puts pressure on pastors to keep everyone happy and everyone giving.
  5. Contributions go to interest payments not the work of the Gospel: "Many major denominations spend more on interest payments than on foreign missions." 
Rob Kuban in his book "The Secret of Generosity" says a church committed to avoiding debt demonstrates:
  1. Patience as they wait for God to provide resources.
  2. Trust in God to provide what is needed.
  3. Submission to the will of God in the event the funding does not arrive.
  4. A powerful witness that God will provide for His work.
  5. The ability to bless others instead of servicing debt.
  6. Freedom to follow God's instruction not terms of contracts.

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