Man In The Mirror

Jul 1, 2021

“I’m Looking at the Man in the Mirror” – Michael Jackson

Pastors want so much for the people in their churches: they want them to grow spiritually, to be in healthy communities, and to have awesome families. They also want their people to give. In fact, when I ask pastors “what do you want for your people in the area of stewardship?” the most common answer is “I want them to tithe.”

We all know that only a fraction of Christians tithe. But did you know that statistic includes church leaders as well? You might be surprised how little many of your elders, small groups leaders, and staff members give to the work of the church.

Even senior pastors who make giving a priority often struggle with money in other ways. I once sat with a pastor friend whose rent was not paid and whose student loans were in default. He was surprised when I told him that I believed his financial testimony disqualified him from pastoral ministry.

Maybe your situation isn’t quite that bad, but a surprising number of pastors have financial skeletons in their closets. They want to lead their people into a more generous lifestyle, but their pride and personal failings won’t let them start the journey. Stewardship is a big deal, and how we manage money is either a gas pedal or a brake in our Christian walk.

Are you comfortable with the way you manage money, or are you ashamed of your financial habits? If that’s a tough question for you to answer honestly, here’s a reminder: we can’t lead people where we are not willing to go. Good financial stewardship for the Christian leader is not optional; it is an essential discipline that is foundational to effective ministry. Your people are watching what you buy and how you pay for it, and you can’t sincerely encourage people to tithe if you don’t lead the way.

My friend fixed his finances and now helps others who struggle. The journey was life changing for him, and I believe he is better – at everything – because he was willing to do some hard work. In my experience, though, many people would rather stay stuck because it is much easier to keep poor habits than build better ones.

Most of the time no one sees the results of our financial choices. But we know when we are managing money biblically, and when we aren’t. God calls leaders to be above reproach in the public square, to set an example worthy of imitation. If we fail to do that, we will struggle to grow, and our people will struggle with us.

What does your mirror tell you about how your stewardship reflects God’s standard?

Ken will be hosting a webinar in September – more details coming soon!

Ken used his entrepreneurial bent to minister bi-vocationally in a multicultural context for nearly two decades. A mid-life transition to full-time ministry gave him an even bigger vision for serving people and churches. He was the stewardship pastor at Christ Fellowship in Miami, Florida before joining Ramsey Solutions to work with the country’s largest churches. Ken fervently believes in the power of stewardship initiatives to build community and fast track spiritual growth and is currently finishing a sabbatical in Franklin, Tennessee.

Ken Schafer