Many church leaders struggle with preaching about money in their church or loathe the offering time. However, this fear can be alleviated by making a shift in their perspective about money. The topic of money is not about money per se. The Kingdom of God and helping people to live as disciples of Christ is the true aim of money. In the words of Peter Greer, “Money is a vehicle, not the ultimate objective.”
The reality for pastors is that money is important. It is needed when it comes to ministry and money is one of the biggest struggles and stresses of the people who sit in your church.
Many pastors this time of year (or after the new year) will talk on money in a sermon. Here are five things to keep in mind for the next time you preach on money:
1. People genuinely are interested in what the Bible has to say on money. People come to your church to hear what the Bible has to say. They drove there, probably looked at your website, they drove past a sign that said church, so they are expecting for you to open the Bible and read it. I think people want to know what God thinks about a whole host of things, money included.
Because very few people have strong financial knowledge. There are so many takes on it, ideas on what you should do, how to get out of debt, where you should invest that it becomes overwhelming and then people stick their head in the sand. Telling them what the Bible has to say is incredibly helpful and refreshing to them because it says more than “you should give to the church.”
As well, most couples are fighting over money. Most people are laying in bed at night stressing over money. Talking about it hits them where they live and answers some of their most burning questions.
2. Get your financial house in order. Many pastors don’t talk about money because many pastors aren’t generous and don’t give. Generosity doesn’t come easy for me, but preaching on what the Bible has to say about money has convicted my heart to grow in it. If a pastor doesn’t preach on money, generosity or stewardship of finances, it is usually because he isn’t doing well in those areas personally, and that will affect the life of a church. Generous churches are led by generous leaders.
Be honest with your struggles if you have them. Talk about what you have learned and how God is continuing to grow you. People will resonate with that. Every time I talk about money I’ll hear people say over and over, “Thanks for being open about what is hard for you.”
3. Make sure you don’t make promises God doesn’t make. Especially with passages like Malachi 3, it is easy to make promises God doesn’t make when it comes to money. Is God faithful? Yes. Does God bless people financially when they give? Yes. Are there lots of rich people who don’t give? Yes. Are God’s blessings to us always financial reimbursement? No. This is the one area that a lot of damage has been done in terms of preaching on money.
4. Stewardship is more than money. While most pastors preach on money to get more people to give money, that isn’t the goal. The goal is to help people follow Jesus when it comes to stewardship and that includes money, but also includes how they use their time, house, car, retirement and steward their whole life.
Make sure that when you talk about stewardship, you help people understand that God’s heart is for more than their bank account, but also their calendar, relationships and heart.
5. Give clear and helpful next steps. You should have clear next steps every week that you preach, but with money, it is incredibly important. Whether that is doing a 90-day giving challenge, a financial class like FPU or something else. Don’t just leave people hanging on this. Especially because as I said on point 1, people want to know how to handle money.
This article originally appeared here.