9. Should you enlarge the team? At some point, you may consider inviting several of your godliest and most spiritual members—no more than half a dozen—to join the discussion. Emphasize the need to respond to this crisis in a healthy, Christ-honoring way that will bless the church and not weaken it. The goal is to build the church, not to gut it.
The pastor should make clear up front that no decision will be made in this meeting. He will take very seriously everything said there (someone should take notes) and lay it before the Lord as he seeks direction.
10. Stand together. When (and if) the pastor-led team has a recommendation to bring to the church, make sure everyone who has had input knows the details and, as far as possible, is on board. Ideally, the pastor and staff and lay leadership will bring this to the church as a unified team. Their sweet unity will calm the congregation’s fears and help the church take a giant step toward solving the crisis.
However, in many cases, no action from the church is required. If the solution is a stewardship education program or a series of sermons on faithfulness in giving or such, the leadership simply does it without publicity.
11. Stay focused. Keep in mind one great truth: We do not teach stewardship principles to our people in order to meet the budget.
God’s work is far greater than what we are doing in this one congregation. (I’ve known of pastors saying there is no need to preach tithing because, they say, “We’re meeting the budget.” That is extremely short-sighted.)
Churches must teach an ongoing program of financial guidelines in order to grow God’s children, help them break the bondage of materialism, and invest in heaven (Matt. 6:20). By our faithful and sacrificial giving, we honor God, fund the work of the kingdom and set an example for the outside (and watching) world.
The pastor not teaching sound principles of kingdom giving to his people on an ongoing basis is failing his people at their deepest level.
12. Privately, ask your staff and lay leadership of the church to set a good example in their own giving. We have no right to ask others to do what we ourselves are not doing.
I’ve told before of the time our deacons were constantly on my case about the lagging finances. So one day I had the bookkeeper print out the record of each deacon’s contributions year-to-date and put in a sealed envelope with his name on it. No one else saw the figures. That night in the monthly meeting, I emphasized the need for leaders to set the example for the congregation. I told them we had to earn the right to gripe. Then we passed out the envelopes.
“Open yours and see how you are doing," I said. "Then, you decide if you have a right to complain. If you do, let me have it with both barrels!”
The rest of the meeting was unusually quiet, and two or three of them never forgave me. Personally, I love it.
(Note to pastors: It might be just as effective to tell your leaders what I did instead of actually doing it yourself. But do as the Lord leads.)
13. Do nothing in the flesh. Wait on the Lord. A wise shepherd of God’s flock will seek God’s will and study the Word and wait on the Lord. He will seek the counsel of the Lord’s most faithful servants and stand with the leadership of the congregation. He will bless those doing well and be courageous toward the ones who are not.
Remember to love the church. When we honor the Lord’s people, we honor Him.
Dr. Joe McKeever writes from the vantage point of more than 60 years as a disciple of Jesus, more than 50 years preaching His gospel and more than 40 years of cartooning for every imaginable Christian publication.
For the original article, visit joemckeever.com.
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