Writing at Ministry Matters, and just in time as many congregations begin planning stewardship campaigns, Rebekah Simon-Peter offers some insight and reflection on how many churches approach money in an article titled “Why Churches Are Poor.”
She opens with a reflection from a recent retreat;
At a recent clergy retreat I attended, we prayed a prayer that went something like this: “O Lord, keep us far from the riches of the world.” Each of us was sincere in our prayers.
Later it occurred to me that God is indeed answering that prayer! Many churches find that money is their limiting factor. I’m going out on a limb here. But I don’t think it’s because these churches are full of poor people. It’s because they act poor.
She then begins to offer another potential;
I don’t believe this is a theologically necessary state of affairs…
Drawing on her experience in congregational development and transformations, she offers five attitudes or behaviors that may be holding us back, such as #3: “We don’t ask for enough. Have you ever noticed that some people are only deeply motivated to give when challenged? If the “ask” isn’t big enough, they won’t bother giving. Are you asking for enough to get the attention of these givers? If not, you are blocking their spiritual growth, and the church’s ministry.”
Instead of seeing money as an unruly guest, or worse, a pariah perhaps we could see it as a potential tool for God’s work in the world.
What if we were to pray that God direct the riches of the world to us and through us to bring about healing, reconciliation, justice and wholeness in our communities and world? I wonder what might happen then?
We need a new consciousness around money — one that allows us to be honest about our needs and the unlimited God we serve. Money is not in short supply. But if we believe it is, we will act, and ask, accordingly.