Nearly every day we make decisions that affect our current and future financial position. Many people stop for a $5 cup of coffee nearly every morning. While there’s nothing wrong with a good cup of coffee, you need to understand that decision– if done every day of your working career — could be a million dollar decision. Look at it this way: instead of having a $5 cup of coffee five days a week, if you invested those funds earning an average of 12% return over a 40-year working career, you would have accumulated $979,307. I hope it was a good cup of coffee because that coffee potentially cost you a million dollars.
Many times these decisions are made without much consideration of their effect. Our personal financial decisions affect our immediate family. When we take this same approach to finances of the church, it can be devastating to a much larger group of people. As pastors and leaders, we have been entrusted to be good stewards. Financial decisions without proper thought can bring a church to the brink of bankruptcy and is often the catalyst in church splits.
Though every cup of coffee you buy doesn’t cost the church you serve a million dollars, every financial decision you make does require something. Before you make any significant financial decisions ask yourself the question what will this decision cost the church? In Luke 14:28, explaining the cost of discipleship, Jesus says: “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?”
There is always a cost beyond the monetary. Before making purchases ask questions:
Because of this purchase,
- What won’t get funded? Is it a longstanding program established before you arrived or maybe even before you were born?
- How will this decision affect the influencers in your church?
- How will this decision benefit the church?
Proverbs 15:22 tells us: “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” So, where do you start?
- Jehoshaphat told the king: “First seek the counsel of the Lord.”
- Secondly, seek Godly counsel from entrusted leadership within your church. On very significant decisions, seek counsel from outside your church. Speak to pastors and leaders who have already done what you are setting out to do.
- Finally, come back and ask yourself: “Why we are making this decision?”
If, after seeking God and Godly counsel, you can answer that question with “It’s a God-led decision, and it benefits the church” then you have done it right and are making a sound financial decision that will be an investment into the Kingdom of God!
First published in inMinistry, Volume 50, Issue 7