Lessons on preventing financial problems
Many sermons and teaching lessons that pastors present to their congregations do not apply to everyone. For example, lessons on the depravity of alcohol or drugs or the spiritually and emotionally harmful effects of adultery could apply to only a handful of attendees. However, everybody deals with money. It is the pastors' responsibility to help their congregations learn God's method of handling money.
What to emphasize
There are a number of financial lessons on which pastors can concentrate, but four seem to be of more concern than others.
Warn them about buying on credit, cosigning, surety, and the financial pitfalls associated with borrowing.
- Teach practical guidelines of money management. This includes showing people how to budget, tithe, save, and give in a manner pleasing to the Lord. Although pastors need to emphasize the importance of insurance, retirement planning, and will and estate preparation, this type of teaching should be done one-on-one, rather than in a congregational setting.
- Provide premarital financial training. In America today one out of every two new marriages ends in divorce. The number one reason couples give for divorce is money or how money is handled. Premarital training that focuses on God's principles of finance will likely prevent marital conflicts associated with finances that otherwise would be inevitable.
Even in the ministry, the divorce rate is consistent with the national average. More than 47 percent of marriages in the ministry end in divorce. Of these, 72 percent list finances as the number one reason for the divorce, with only 6 percent claiming not to have more monthly debt than they have monthly income.
- Teach financial management during a crisis or life change. Major changes in life, such as starting college; children leaving home; weddings; change of job; loss of a job; moving; retirement; and family crises, such as death of a loved one, prolonged sickness, accident, natural disaster, fire, and so on bring their own financial struggles.
Pastors need to address how families can cope financially during these life-changing events. Subjects that pastors can include are borrowing, bankruptcy, elimination of assets, retirement planning, and saving.
The Bible never condemns the possession of goods and money, but it does speak against hoarding, coveting, selfishness, stealing, dishonesty, and mismanagement of finances. For a millennium, Satan has used financial pressures to enslave God's people in debt and worry and to turn them away from God and from His principles of money management. God has placed pastors in a unique position to counterbalance this attack upon God's people by encouraging them to teach God's principles of finance as found in the Word of God.
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