At WOCC we are in the final year of our ENGAGE vision campaign. The goal of this campaign was to get everyone excited about what God is doing here and where He’s taking us, and to fund this vision for the next three years debt-free. At the beginning, this campaign caused me to think quite a bit about money and it challenged Kathie and me to a whole new level of giving. (Now, the fact of my recent retirement has caused me to revisit that subject from a whole new perspective! But I digress.)
Inevitably, during a campaign such as this, and during the typical fall “stewardship emphasis” the question comes up: “Why do preachers talk so much about money?”
Seems to me there are two answers to that question, depending on what you mean.
If by “so much” you really mean “too much” the answer is simply this:
I can tell you sincerely that it’s just not true. Every single preacher I’ve ever known (and I know a LOT of preachers) hated talking about money. They just never got real stoked about preaching that yearly “stewardship series”. They did it because they knew they had to. And the reason they felt they had to is probably not the reason you’re thinking.
However, if by “so much” you really mean “at all,” here’s why…
Preachers don’t teach about money just to get the offerings up. They do it because they know that the way we handle money is as much a mark of discipleship as our sexual morals, our prayer life and our Bible learning…and anything else you can think of. From time to time you’ll hear (or maybe, say) something along the lines of: “We shouldn’t talk about money. Let’s just reach out to people with the gospel and the money will follow.” The thing is, we don’t approach any other area of discipleship like that. “We shouldn’t talk about living a moral life. Let’s just reach out with the gospel and the morality will follow.” While it’s true that the gospel changes lives from within it doesn’t mean we stop teaching about what it means to live life as a Christ-follower. Jesus’ teaching (Now THERE was a preacher who talked a LOT about money!) was that the use of our money is the BEST indicator of a person’s discipleship. In Matthew chapter 6 he tells us that where we put our money is where our hearts will be. So to determine what is really important to us and what it is that we value and trust the most, we have simply to ask ourselves the question, “Where do we put our money?”
So preachers talk about money.
And, just in case you think that your church doesn’t need to grow in this area of discipleship, I challenge you to do a little research and a little math.
Take a couple minutes and Google the average household income for your area (county, city…whatever). I did it for Colerain Township. Then check how many households would be considered members of your church. Multiply the average income with the number of church households and you’ll have something close to the total income of your church family.
Now I realize that the tithe was an Old Covenant requirement and we’re now under grace. I get that. But the point of the whole tithe thing was for us to learn that God really owns everything anyway. So, for convenience sake, let’s just start with a tenth. If everyone in your church gave a tithe, one tenth of the household income, what could your church budget be? I don’t care if you calculate it on gross or net, I’d be willing to bet your church budget is nowhere close to what it could be under those conditions. Imagine the good that could be done in your community if that were to happen.
So, do preachers talk too much about money?
It would seem not.