As church leaders, what we're trying to do is lead people to Christ.
When they are young believers, we try to instill Christian values in them: how to grow in their faith, how to raise kids and lead a family.
One of the key things that we do as church leaders is we actually teach people about finance––about money and generosity.
I don't know an area of discipleship that will better set people up for success than teaching them what God thinks about money and generosity.
If you're a church leader that loves to see people grow, after you've taught people to allow the wisdom and values of Christianity to seep deep into their consciousness through the Holy Spirit and the teaching of the Word, you have to get to this money area of their life.
1. Start with the premise that since God talks about money, we must talk about money.
Of course, we know the Bible has a lot to say about money. Yet sometimes, as church leaders, we struggle to talk about money because we're a little bit afraid of it. It's kind of a touchy point. I think the first thing to know is that God is not afraid to talk about money. In fact, He talks about money a lot. Jesus uses parable upon parable containing financial wisdom to get across his message about the Kingdom of God. When you're a church leader discipling people, the premise you start from is: "God talks about money, so we talk about money. Since God has a lot to say about it, I want to show you how you can be set free in your finances through having a biblical perspective on money."
If you're a little bit touchy talking about money, start with the premise that since God talks about it, we need to talk about it. That's the first thing. If you start with the premise that God talks about it and therefore requires us as church leaders to talk about it, it becomes just a little bit easier for us to jump over that hurdle.
2. Combat the cultural narrative of scarcity.
The next thing we are combating is the pressure of the world system to take. The world teaches us to take and to keep, whereas God teaches us the absolute opposite: give, release. Once we get beyond the thought that God wants us to talk about money, and it's scriptural to do so, then we start from the first premise, which is: "I'm trying to change the way you think about money because you've grown up thinking something that is absolutely false."
It's the number one reason people get divorced. It's the number one reason people are unhappy. Now we know that God and Jesus bring us happiness internally, and that often changes our outlook on life. Yet for most people, the biggest pressure they feel is financial. So as church leaders, we must show how the Bible can set us free from things surrounding finances.
3. Teach the Bible’s approach to money as a means.
The first thing that we should be doing is trying to change people's perception of money. What is money? What's money in the Bible? What does it mean to put God first and money way down the list? In God's eyes, money is just a tool; a mere means. It is not the most important thing in a Christian's life. We know that if we give, other things that we need will be added into our life (Matthew 6:33). We know this principle.
The idea that we're trying to take Christians on a journey to trust God with their financial world and to put God first leads us to the obvious next step, which is to talk about giving.
Of course, giving is God's design of how we practically put him first in all things. It's very clear; the Bible teaches right through scripture, from the Old Testament into the New, that giving is a mechanism of setting people free from self and putting God first in their life. When you actually teach what the Bible says on money, that’s the first thing that starts to happen.
All of a sudden, a spirit of generosity wells up on the inside of a person and they take that first step. Maybe they've never done it in their life, and that gift to the church is the first thing they've ever given. That happens a lot since we're taught by the world that we should be hoarding what we have or it's going to run out. Yet, God's perspective is: "Hey, I'm a river. I'm going to get to you what I can get through you."
4. Show how generosity can enhance your inner and outer life.
When we shift people's mentality about this, something incredible happens in their heart and life––they're putting God first by allowing God to flow through their life.
Being a generous person makes you an unselfish person. And when you're an unselfish person, all your other relationships get better. It's pretty clear: "Seek first the kingdom of God and put God first. Love God first. Love others next." When we have that mindset, we are changed people; we stop worrying about our finances. Others start looking at us differently because we're not this person who's trying to get, take, and store up. We are generous, cheerful givers.
When you're generous financially, you become generous with everything else. You become generous with love; you become generous with joy. Generosity just starts becoming a lifestyle. That lifestyle is in stark contrast to how the world lives, and that changes people's perception of who God is and who we are as Christians––especially as church leaders.
Growing disciples begins by offering a counter-cultural teaching and an example of Christian giving. When we start living this Christ-like lifestyle, we personify the abundance and generosity of God for others in a tangible and transformative way.
Read the full blog of this episode here: https://get.tithe.ly/blog/change-church-view-money
Today on Modern Church Leader, Tithe.ly CEO Dean Sweetman explains four strategies for changing how your church views, manages, spends, and gives money.
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Tithe.ly is the global leader in digital giving, church engagement, and church management software. Tithe.ly serves over 12,000 churches in 55 countries, and is trusted by churches and ministries such as Hillsong, North Coast Church, Rock Church, and Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.
Dean Sweetman is the co-founder and CEO of Tithe.ly. Before launching Tithe.ly, Dean was involved in ministry for more than 30 years. During this time, he planted over 50 churches and raised millions of dollars to spread the gospel, equip leaders, and see lives transformed by Jesus. When Dean is not encouraging his team and helping churches grow, he enjoys spending time with his wife and family.