Money can be a taboo topic, can’t it? Money has torn families apart. Money has torn businesses apart. Money has torn churches apart. It can be a difficult subject and, because of that, we sometimes avoid it.

But this doesn’t need to be the case!

Given that money is a sensitive subject in churches for any number of reasons—from sin, to past church hurt, or others—we should talk about money strategically.

Here are five intentional ways churches can talk about money that lead to openness and Christlikeness rather than fear and sin:

1. We should talk about money frequently.

One of the most common mistakes church leaders make is avoiding talking about money and generosity until it’s time to initiate a building campaign or another kind of fundraising initiative to support the work of the church. This not only hinders consistent giving, but it can inhibit the trust of people in your church. Learning to manage money with wisdom and in accordance with Christian values are important to life and pursuing Christlikeness. Discussions about how to manage money or cultivate a heart of generosity should not be reserved for when one aspect of the ministry needs a new or expanded space.

Obviously, talking about money too frequently can hurt trust in another way…by making it sound like all your church cares about is money and gathering money from its people—a fear of many Christians that is all too legitimate.

Talking about money is important. Stay consistent with it. Find a healthy rhythm and balance to keep it at the forefront.

2. We should talk about money without shaming people.

Many churches struggle with church members who consume sermons every week and benefit from the ministries of the church without giving of their time or their money to further the work of the church in the community. It is a sad reality, but this is common, and it should be addressed by church leadership. But handling poor giving and stingy hearts by shaming church members who rarely give or don’t give at all is not the way to approach this difficult situation.

Instead, we need to approach how people give with grace and invitation, just like Jesus did. It’s an opportunity to live a life of generosity. This isn’t forced; it’s an invitation to take a step deeper into their walk with Christ.

3. We should talk about money in relation to discipleship.

Sex and money are two of the most common idols that we humans worship instead of our Creator. Part of the reason we are too afraid to talk about money in relation to our faith is because, deep down, we recognize that we hold on to our money a bit too tightly. How we handle our money is a discipleship issue. Mishandling money by being greedy, cheating people out of money we owe them, or other issues like those are spiritual problems, not just ethical or moral problems.

The sooner we start treating our relationship with money as a discipleship issue and not just a “money” issue, the sooner we will start handling our money in a more Christlike, God-glorifying way…and the sooner we’ll be generous with the money we’ve been given.

When church leaders talk about money, it is imperative they lead their people to see their relationship with their money as a matter of spiritual concern. This leads people to understand that money is to be handled with great care because it is so intertwined with their worship.

4. We should talk about money in our children’s and student ministries.

Adults give the most money to the local church, so it is only natural that church conversations about money tend to focus on how adults can be more generous with their money. But because our relationship with our money is a discipleship matter, not just a financial matter, church leaders should be sure that the topic of money makes a regular appearance in children’s and student ministry curricula as well.

Because the church is called to lead children and young adults to have the mind of Christ and pursue godliness in all aspects of life, the church should educate its young people on how to handle money in accordance with their young faith.

Just because young people can’t give very much doesn’t mean we shouldn’t teach them the value of generosity!

5. We should talk about money with eternity in mind.

This point has been hinted at in passing throughout this post, but to wrap it up, let’s reiterate: Our relationship with our money is a discipleship matter, which means our relationship with our money is a matter of eternal importance. By God’s grace, those of us who trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ are saved by Him and what He has done for us. But this gracious salvation does not exempt us from opening our hands and giving back to God those dollars which He gave us in the first place.

God sacrificed His Son so that we might know Him and come to salvation, spending eternity with Him in His presence. In return, we can entrust Him with our finances by pursuing the life of generosity He calls us to.

Leaders, let’s be generous. Let’s encourage a culture of generosity in our churches. And let’s not be afraid to talk about money.

Within the church, all of our ministry efforts and communication should serve one purpose: leading people through their next steps with Christ, from the beginning stages of faith through the rest of their journey alongside your church. If the next steps aren’t made clear for people, they will typically choose to do things in whatever way seems best to them.

So when it comes to our role as leaders (and, in turn, as communicators), our energy should be dedicated to guiding people through those next steps with Christ. And that guidance needs to be clear. Because if it’s not clear, it’s confusing. And if it’s confusing, it’s poor communication. And poor communication is ineffective leadership. Poor communication allows opportunities for agendas and division within the church. Your job as a leader is to keep everyone aligned on mission and focused on the vision of the Church.

So what do we do as Church leaders?

1) You need to define what the “next steps” are.
Most of us like to label keeping people busy as “discipleship.” (I’m right there with you). But, if we’re honest, a lot of times the amount of programs we offer more often hinder people’s abilities to grow spiritually than help it.
We recommend developing a discipleship path to make the journey clear for anyone at your church. That may sound overwhelming, but creating a discipleship path is simply defining the next steps you ask people to take on their spiritual journey. And determining those things specifically will be so helpful in narrowing your ministry focus and prioritizing what you communicate as a church. Pro Tip: The next steps you define should flow out of your specific mission and vision, what God has called your church to accomplish and focus on.

2) Focus on inspiring people to take a next step.
Once you’ve defined the next steps, the goal now becomes leading people through that spiritual journey. You now have the opportunity to get creative by asking the question, “How can we inspire people to take a next step instead of just informing them of what’s available?” Our friends at Fishhook recently wrote a great article on that very topic.

3) Don’t prioritize communicating anything outside of your vision and discipleship plan.
Communication without purpose is just noise. As you define the journey that your church will guide people through, resist the urge to communicate anything that doesn’t fit within that process. Let your vision and discipleship path be the filter that all communication runs through. If it doesn’t make the cut, toss it out.

4) Evaluate your current methods of communication.
Finally, be willing to take an honest inventory of your current methods of communication and their effectiveness. This includes your announcements on Sunday mornings, the layout of your website, your social media presence, your bulletin, and the list goes on…

Don’t let “we’ve always done it this way” be the sole reason you hang on to a method of communication that is outdated or ineffective. And as we mentioned before, measure its worth against the goals you’ve set in both your vision and discipleship plan.

Author: 95Network

One Church Software is excited to announce our ministry partnership with the 95 Network. The 95 Network focuses on connecting small and mid-size churches to BIG resources, by providing content, conferences, and grant funds for coaching and consulting.

This organization is led by a team of phenomenal pastors who have years of experience and success in leading small churches. The 95 Network staff is passionate about seeing churches increase health, grow, and get access to resources.

95% of churches are under 500 in average attendance, and these churches are central to the 95 Network’s ministry.

For more information, please visit the 95 Network webpage.

You have between five and 10 seconds to get people focused on who you are and what you are all about. That’s right – between five and 10 seconds. Just to put things into perspective, Krispy Kreme recommends you warm its glazed donuts in the microwave for eight seconds for that “hot donuts now” experience.

Most traffic to your church website is from potential visitors and newcomers. Your site is a virtual welcome center, open 24/7/365. I’ll define a “visitor” as someone who has only been inside your church three or fewer times. Visitors make decisions and form opinions about your church based on the information they see online. Often times, they ask themselves, “Will I/my family fit in?” So, ask yourself, why do people come to our website?


FOCUS ON THE FOLLOWING WITH YOUR WEBSITE:

  1. Who you are and what you are all about should be clear.
    Do you have a lot of young families in your church? Are you an ethnically diverse church? What is your worship style? Contemporary or traditional? What is your theology? You want visitors to know all about your church within seconds of being on your website. Subconsciously, they will form opinions about whether or not they will fit in based solely on your homepage content and images. If you have a contemporary worship style, don’t show a picture of an organ. And don’t show pictures of a bunch of young kids if your church represents an older demographic. Make content a true representation of your church.
  2. Communicate where you are.
    It’s great to tell people in your community all about your church, your mission, vision and values, but if it’s hard for people to find where you’re located, chances are they’re going to stop searching. Make that information easy to find, possibly in a couple of places within your site.
  3. Tell people when to be there.
    If you tell people who you are, what you’re all about, and where you are, but forget to tell them when to be there, how will they know when to come? Make service times a priority just as much as location, even including service times under your address. I’ve seen several churches that have images scrolling on their homepages where one image is dedicated solely to the current sermon series and when to be there. Make people want to come. Tell them when to be there.
  4. Content is key.
    Whatever you decide to include about who you are and what your church is all about is up to you, but keep it simple. Don’t overload people with a ton of useless information. Also, make sure that you are choosing images that correspond to the content on your website. Images solicit emotional responses. Again, people form opinions subconsciously based on what they see
    on your website.

Author: Matt Morris