Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Money, Meetings and Feeling Unspiritual

     Confession - I rarely enjoy finance committee meetings.  Usually I dread them, attend, and then walk away uttering something like, "That was not really all that bad."  I have attended finance committee meetings in large and small churches, churches that are over budget and churches that struggle to meet budget.  My complaint is that it all seems so unspiritual.  We (or at least I) must be careful not to develop the idea that money is a necessary evil to ministry.  Never adopt the mindset that it would be nice to do ministry without money, but we can't so let's just bite the bullet and figure out how to pay for all this stuff we want to do.  Conversely, we must not seek to spiritualize money by praying for the sake of prayer and bathing the meeting with words like stewardship and blessing just because that sounds more Christian than, "Hey, we took in more than we spent, what do we do with the extra?"

     So as I sit and ponder I realize that money is neither good nor evil, material nor spiritual.  Money is like many other things in this world - a reality thereof which we have the opportunity to submit to The Lord.  So I will go to the next finance committee meeting determined to feel neither worldly nor spiritual, but to be a Christ follower seeking to best handle a reality attached to ministering in my context.

     I will attend as a pastor refusing to passively let the money people do their job, but insisting they out of redeemed hearts submit all decisions to Jesus.  It is after all His money and we are entrusted to reflect His heart for His money.  This is not spiritualizing, it's reality.  Reality taught in Scripture and reality is that any board (I.e. finance committee) is given the task to act best on behalf of the share holders (I.e. the people who have invested, I.e. Jesus who through His people's giving has provided the funds for His church).  So when we decide to increase spending or decrease spending, we must be both finance minded and Jesus minded.  He doesn't want us to mismanage money, nor does He want us to manage it without seeking His guidance.  As a pastor I should be the catalyst of connecting the two.

    I will attend as a pastor who realizes the atmosphere of the church is impacted by the budget.  If we give lip service to missions giving, but "spend more" on paper goods for the kitchen that we send into the world to spread the gospel, our decisions do not reflect or stated values.  However if people in the congregation see that their giving is being used to propagate the gospel they will seek to give out of compulsion to fund the kingdom not just buy stuff for the church.