During the Pandemic, Values Matter More Than Ever
The COVID-19 pandemic has made church life difficult for large, small, and medium-sized churches; rural, urban, and suburban churches; and churches with endowments, diverse income streams, and economic challenges. These challenges are real for their members and attenders too.
Churches are trying to adapt as best they can. Designing ministry programs to encourage faithful generosity and preaching sermons on money may seem more formidable than ever. Here are three focus points that can make it possible.
#1 Values over advice
Don’t start with budgets. Start with values. Every day, our actions and decisions flow from our values. Wherever we are on the wealth spectrum, giving space and time to reflect on values and align decisions with those values is a gift that churches and ministries can give to anyone and everyone.
The good news is that you’re probably modeling the way already. Consider that most churches use organizational values to guide their decisions about what’s important. Maybe you call them a mission or vision statement – or “our principles” or “guiding beliefs.”
Likewise, imagine the individuals and families in your church living aligned with values.
#2 Emotions aren’t bad
When it comes to money, we feel it before we think it. This is true for all income levels. Some fear not having enough. Some fear losing what they have. But fear is fear. So here is what I’m learning: when talking about money, don’t use numbers.
Focus on the emotions of money so you can develop a healthy emotional relationship with money. Get the underlying emotional roots of financial stuff because it’s relevant to all income levels.
In his book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, author and pastor Pete Scazzero reminds us that spiritual health and emotional health go hand-in-hand. Emotions aren’t bad. They are simply information about what matters and what’s important.
#3 Giving as freedom
Everyone deserves to feel the joy of giving away their money. There is no magic amount one has to make in order to experience gratitude and generosity. Whether it’s $5 or more, a gift is a gift is a gift. And gifts matter.
There is a place and time to talk about tithing. Many people are not developmentally ready. In the meantime, talk about giving as a way of being free. Because we know we are free when we can give it away. And everyone of every income level deserves this.
So church leaders, in this time of uncertainty, don’t leave a focus on money behind. Create a safe space to explore financial matters based on your church’s unique values. And generosity will follow.
Most church leaders don’t have time to create a financial course. 6 Weeks on Money enables churches to offer a digital course and small group experience that helps people gain a new way of thinking and feeling about money.
Special ESC Offer Expires August 21!
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