If you’re a pastor that hesitates to teach about money, you are not alone. Many pastors loathe and avoid the topic.
The desire to avoid teaching on money usually comes from several, understandable reasons. Pastors don’t want to be viewed as those who use the pulpit for personal financial gain and they assume this is what attendees are thinking when they preach on money. They are fearful that it will hurt their ability to shepherd the congregation. Some pastors don’t believe they have the authority to talk about money as they find themselves financially struggling like many in their congregation. They feel like hypocrites.
Of course, pastors are also faced with the fact that there are over 2,000 verses in the Bible about money, possessions, and stewardship. Jesus spoke on money more than any other topic during his ministry years. They know that their members need to hear what God has to say about this important topic.
So, what does a pastor do who is hesitant to teach about money but knows the Bible regularly speaks on the importance of this lesson? Here are a few suggestions that may help:
1. Know that church members are often not as uncomfortable with the topic of money as pastors are.
There are usually a handful of attendees that find themselves offended by sermons on money. And they will tell you about it. While these individuals may be loudest to share their opinions, they are the outliers. The majority of church members are not just comfortable with covering money in church, but are eager to hear about it.
2. Remind yourself that God has called you to shepherd hearts, not help people choose the best payoff plan.
God is concerned about how we relate to money because money management often reflects heart management.
A pastor may not know how to walk someone through a debt payoff plan, but that is not God’s task for them.
Church leaders are to go after the heart.
3. Saturate your mind with the biblical principles of money, not the ins and outs of a Roth IRA.
A pastor does not need to know the workings of a retirement account to be an expert on God’s plan for money. Pastors can study and understand what God says about money. And they can confidently teach God’s Word without having a full understanding of Roth IRAs.
4. Recognize that if the church doesn’t provide a biblical perspective on money, the world is eager to share its own perspective.
Church members will receive messages on money management—this is inevitable. The question pastors need to ask is, “What will the messages contain?” The world is eager and ready to share its perspective. If the church does not speak on this topic, the world’s voice will be the only voice your congregation hears. The world’s message will quickly lead members astray and turn hearts toward an idol that can never deliver on its promises.
God’s Word teaches how we can manage money in a way that doesn’t corrupt the heart and advances His mission. This is a message that church members need to hear.
5. Take one positive step in your own finances.
A simple way to build confidence with your own finances is to take one positive step forward. Pay off some debt. Set aside money for an emergency. Put money toward retirement. Give. If you are not sure what your next step should be, consider the 8 Money Milestones. Don’t underestimate the power that one small step can make in building confidence.
A pastor’s hesitancy to teach on money is understandable. The concerns are real. But the world is pushing a financial message that is detrimental to human hearts. Our churches can and should combat the world’s voice. Proclaiming God’s message on money is desperately needed. And pastors can lead the way.