IS YOUR CHURCH HURTING FINANCIALLY?
These are not the best of days financially for our nation. Of course, for many churches this economy has had an effect on the budget. Here in south Louisiana, most churches seem to be effected by the down turn in our local economy. On the east end of the North Shore, NASA is shutting down and a thousand jobs are lost. South, Avondale Shipyards is closing down and another 5000 jobs are lost plus those industries that supply material to the shipyard. An article at NOLA.com says that the average salary at Avondale is $62,000.00. The loss of jobs will be huge. The state is in crisis, the local university has been slamed by the economy, and even tenured professors are losing jobs.
I have no great words of wisdom. As the pastor of a largely blue collar church, we have always had more needs than money. I came here 22 years ago in a desperate financial crisis. We have managed to grow over these 22 years but we still have our ups and downs. I have taken pay cuts, and asked not to receive a raise on more than one occasion because it is one of the small things I can do. Plus I think it is important that pastors lead by example. All I have ever asked is that members be faithful to put Christ before worldly things. But even under the best of times we must ask ourselves is this program necessary, does this enhance the Christlikness of the church? Are we putting our money into the priorities that God has laid before us?
These are deeply spiritual questions that have very practical, every day consequences. Our maturity in Christ will determine how we use God’s money. In our church we are in desperate need of space. In fact is is doubtful that we can grow until we have more education and fellowship space. In good times we don’t worry too much about raising money but what about in the darker times? Should we take the risk? Yet, all faith based living is taking a risk by worldly standards. We trust God most when the way is dark or unclear. Our choices should not be made solely on what the economy is doing but primarily on where God is leading. And that is the bottom line whether you are struggling to pay the church’s light bill or you are trying to build a new building. Both require radical trust in the leadership of Christ.
Recently Joe McKeever had an article on his blog titled Is Your Church Hurting Financially? Good! It is a very good, practical article on dealing with church finances in difficult times. It is worth reading. Just click on the title of the article and it will take you there.