Welcome back. Nice to see you.
Money. Money. Money. Something so integral to our daily lives is so often something we'd rather not talk about. Particularly at church. More particularly, at a church plant that is trying to perform its role within God's kingdom.
To help ease the strain and tension around money being on the agenda at your church plant, Geneva hosted an instructive and considered panel discussion with two Christian leaders well versed in raising funds. Author of Giving Generously, Rod Irvine, and New Life Anglican Church pastor Stuart Starr, provided plenty of financial wisdom during this month's Planter Session – “The M Word: Talking About Money In Church”. We recorded the entire discussion, so click through to tune into “The M Word” session.
Each month, Geneva hosts an interactive “Planter Session”, where experienced ministry leaders and relevant experts share information and advice aimed at strengthening your church-plant ministry. To provide an idea of why you should check out all of “The M Word”, below are six key principles that Stuart explained during the Planter Session. Stuart previously worked as an assistant minister with Rod at Figtree Anglican Church, NSW, where Rod's insights into “talking about money in church” informed a lot of Stuart's own thinking on the subject.
“I think that you, as the pastor, have to believe yourself that people cannot serve God and money. You need to be talking about money with your people because it's killing them.” Referring to how destructive the dependence upon money can be for people in our churches, Stuart concludes that ministry leaders must talk about money as a spiritual concern. Money talk should not be a pragmatic plea for operations funding; there must be a spiritual imperative to the confronting of how we all approach money.
“You have to be all-in, yourself.” What Stuart means also can be expressed as: “If you weren't leading the church you are leading, would you still go to that church?” Stuart points to Rod as a strong example of a church leader who set a distinct vision for his congregation to respond to. Being unable to concisely state what you and your church is about, and where it's headed, will hinder the ability to seek support for it.
“I think you need to tell peope what's at stake.” Kingdom outcomes and the financial reality of running a church plant, should be clearly expressed to the people you are leading.
Don't hide financial realities from your church – or only raise financial matters “when everything is falling apart”. Allow your people to see and understand the situation, so they can grab hold of the practical difference their support makes to the church plant.
Rod's style and thinking about leadership had a major impact upon Stuart. One of the areas he emulates Rod is in giving. Both Rod and Stuart advocate that church leaders must themselves be giving to their own church plant. This might sound “circular” but there are plenty of operational costs (not just the senior minister's wage).
Over time, people should come to see that – within the provision of God – something is happening between your vision and related results. Trust will be generated by demonstrating you are a leader who has “under God, delivered again and again and again. Trust and vision will go together, and that will enable people to give joyfully.”