The Best Money Conversation

Recently I had the privilege of launching a Generosity Culture session with a pastor who is leading one of the most successful churches in his state. Over the years they have grown from a few hundred to thousands of people generating millions of annual income. You would think that this kind of numeric success would be sufficient to just stay the course. However, 10% of their people are giving over 50% of the revenue and they are praying for an even more significant impact in their city which requires a flood of resources.

After several hours of meeting, sharing, and dreaming it was simply one of the most inspiring money meetings I have ever witnessed. Here are some insider tips.

  1. We talked about generosity not money. Money is paper, metal, and plastic which is not very inspiring. Generosity is a heart joy straight from the Creator of our souls.  Language creates culture, words create worlds. Learn the language of generosity.
  2. We invited everyone to the conversation, not just the finance office. Everyone handles money. However, sometimes the dollars and cents are left to a small few. How different is a generosity conversation when the Children and Worship Pastors are in the room? Their passion and perspective was invaluable.
  3. We talked about life impact not expenses or receipts.  When budgets are the topic, numbers and line items can rule the game. It was so enlightening to hear stories of how money was being used to transform a life. Money looked much different when seen thru the eyes of addiction recovery and cancer treatment care.
  4. We talked about the future first, not the present or the past. When you see the future clearly as a team it produces such freedom when it comes to budget planning and expenses. The future frames the present.
  5. We talked about what could be, not what would never be. I have watched God provide far beyond the calculators of men. I have watched gifts come in and doors opened when leaders lead with bold faith and a clear calling. This church had these experiences. Past success spurred future faith.
  6. We talked about their city, their people, and the Bible, not a spreadsheet. Every city, life, and family possesses a money story. Once you know the story you can learn your role in growing a generous disciple that enjoys fruit far beyond their means. People want to live big lives and money is a significant story line.
  7. We talked about vision, not a capital campaign. Campaigns are necessary when you need a large infusion of resources in a short period of time. However, you can lead your church to live in the land of surplus each and every day. More and more churches are prioritizing a generous culture long before they have a critical need.
  8. We talked about discipleship, not debt reduction. Debt reduction programs are only sometimes good ideas. If your church feels as if it is struggling with debt, you are probably struggling more with cash flow. Cash flow can be increased many different ways. Don’t settle for old ideas.
  9. We talked about fun and freedom, not bondage and limitation. Most church money conversations are some version of getting more money from people and not getting more blessings for people. When our motive is money and not the freedom that comes from obedient discipleship we are way off as leaders.
  10. We talked together, not being told how it would be. This is big. Try kicking off your annual budgeting process with vision and celebration. Let every ministry leader share their dreams based off the direction provided. Spending and investment choices now become a unifying experience toward a greater goal.

These are just a few takeaways. I hope they inspire you to raise the bar on the money conversation at your church. Several years ago I was reading thru Proverbs and noticed that every chapter contained multiple jewels of wisdom about money. Recently, I took the time to put together a simple 31 day journey through Proverbs for a staff team to experience together. It contains a daily nugget and weekly team up exercise. If you are struggling with confidence in being the lead financial discipler or if you just want to sharpen the skills on your team, check it out. I hope you enjoy it.