With the economic uncertainty in the United States right now, this an ideal time in our nation's history to teach and preach what God says about money. Crown Financial Ministries claims that the Bible has over 2,000 verses regarding finances, while Dave Ramsey has a more conservative estimate of over 800. Either way, the Bible has a lot to say about how God wants us to handle the money He has entrusted to us!
Since the mid-1980s until just recently, the country has been riding a wave of unparalleled prosperity with freely flowing cash and credit. Unfortunately, I believe many people (including Christians) have financed their way to prosperity, forgetting or being completely ignorant of these solid principles from God's Word. It is very evident that our schools and churches have failed miserably at teaching proven financial principles.
As the year 2008 draws to a close, I would just encourage you to consider sermon series and programming for the year 2009 that would educate your church members and community on how to survive and even prosper during the current economic downturn.
Here's a suggested plan of action:
- Educate and change yourself first. Get into God's Word and see what He says about money. Examine your own personal finances. Are you heavily in debt, with little savings and no margins? We all need to lead by example on whatever we're teaching. Ask God to help you become a better steward of what He has given you.
- Open up the new year with a sermon series related to getting fit financially. This is always a great time for a series such as this, since a new year often brings reflection, resolutions, and goals for a fresh start.
- Investigate programs that will help people within your church get a handle on their money. Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University is a great one, and Crown Financial Ministries offers one day seminars all the way up to 10-week small group studies. These programs can also be a great tool to reach out into your communities and help those that are struggling.
I pray our pastors and churches will learn from the past and come back to a Biblical approach to handling the money that God has entrusted to us.