During the Coronavirus crisis I have had the opportunity to listen to dozens of pastors and finance chairs talk about giving in the church. Some have fared well, others not so much. Yet, it has occurred to me that there has been much discussion and anxiety over the finances of the church, but less about the finances of the people of the church.
Sadly, stewardship has become a word that means “raising money for our church.” More properly, stewardship is a word that might essentially mean “management.” While our church’s finances matter, they should never overshadow the importance of teaching our people to “manage” their lives and money in light of the gospel. This crisis gives us the chance to turn the whole idea of stewardship around into something that benefits our people.
For instance, I know people who have not been able to pay the full amount of their mortgage or rent. They are not wealthy people, but they have consistently avoided the idea of saving money for a rainy day—and it is pouring right now. Three or four months of expenses saved would have come in handy right now.
Other people I know are freaking out because the stock market is telling them they are losing money. Of course, they are losing money. We all are. The ones I know are losing more because they are invested in a very few stocks that are being crushed. Better management would dictate that they have a more balanced or diversified portfolio of investments.
Yet others I have spoken with are lamenting the fact that they can’t be as generous as would like. They make a lot of money, but they have chosen to have high mortgages and high car payments. Because they haven’t managed their money well, they have found themselves in a place where God is tugging at their heart, but their debts are tugging harder.
The pain of these days is readying many a person for new lessons. Who will teach them? And why not your church? As you consider classes and small groups for the fall, be sure to offer opportunities for your folks in budgeting, insurance, investing, giving and planned–giving—all from a Christian perspective.
John Wesley’s admonition was that believers gain (earn) all they can, save all they can, and give all they can. Help your folks with that. In other words, help them be stewards. It will bless both them and your church.