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Time to rethink spiritual economics

God's economics explored in worskshop

Rev. Jennie Brown introduces Spiritual Economics, a 4-session online workshop offered this August. The truth about money values lies at the heart of this approach.

JENNIE BROWNE
Director of Clergy Excellence, Michigan Conference

Let’s start with the Bad News: It’s time to start thinking about fall stewardship campaigns.

Ouch.

It’s only July. But in our online world, planning happens earlier than in the good ol’ days when we could rely on familiar traditions to get us through almost everything. It was easy to wing it when this year’s fall campaign (or Advent Bible Study or summer Vacation Bible Study or…whatever ) looked a lot like last year’s.

No matter what stage of re-opening your congregation is in, you’re not going to be able to rely on familiar traditions to get through much of anything, including the finance season. You know this better than I do! Everything’s new – a truth that is exciting, challenging, and intimidating all at the same time.

What if we took this opportunity to start over? What if this is the chance to build a finance campaign that is

  • Less about budget and more about faith
  • Less about themes and logos and more about vision
  • Less about us and more about them: the community, the world, the hungry, the hurting.

That’s a big agenda. Where to start?

The place to start is you: your own faith, your own vision, your own understanding of how money relates to your congregation’s ministry with the community, the world, the hungry, and the hurting.

Like every other aspect of excellent leadership, leading in the area of finance and stewardship requires knowing the truth about yourself, embracing your strengths, and acknowledging your weaknesses. Many steps follow after this first one, but the starting place is always self-knowledge – honest, hard-to-hear, and harder-to-accept, affirming, disconcerting self-knowledge.

This is especially true when it comes to money. But if there’s any area of our own lives that we’d prefer remains unexamined, it’s our financial lives. Money is personal and revealing. Even those who can talk with friends and family about religion, sex, or even politics around their dinner tables don’t talk about their salaries or their debts or their donations.

Knowing your own relationship to money, however, is key to congregational leadership, including leading a successful stewardship campaign. What you value and how you live those values are the foundation from which you lead the financial life of your congregation or ministry setting, just as much as how you lead its worship life or mission life or care-giving life.

So here’s a word of good news! You can begin a new way of thinking about money and a new way of leading financially, including the annual stewardship campaign in the COVID-19 era, under the guidance of Rev. Rebekah Simon-Peter, in a series of four online classes on Wednesday evenings this August. Rebekah is a well-known coach and consultant, author, and speaker. Her 4-session workshop, “Spiritual Economics,” will cover money assumptions, money values, stewardship & leadership, and biblical models of financial leadership, all in light of our new reality. You can read more about her at www.rebekahsimonpeter.com.  To learn more about the August online workshop and register for it click here.

“I am making all things new,” says the Lord. Apparently that includes us: our lives and ministries, even our stewardship campaigns! This is a truth that is exciting, challenging, and intimidating all at the same time. Good News, indeed!