I’ve been a member of three churches that have shown some interest in starting a financial coaching or stewardship ministry, but only one has been somewhat successful in doing so. Why is that? Surely churches are full of people who need help with their finances. Shouldn’t people come running to sign up for free financial coaching, or even a class on stewardship? Not so much, and here are a few reasons why:
Finances are private – That’s why they call it personal finance! No one really wants to talk about money and they certainly don’t want to share their deepest, darkest financial challenges. It’s intimidating for many people!
People don’t want help – Many people are dealing with debt and too much credit card spending with no means to give, but still don’t see the situation as something that needs special attention, especially from a volunteer coach at their church.
Churches might be too aggressive – Often times stewardship or generosity sermons are eloquently squeezed in front of the start of the capital campaign for a new building or church project. People are turned off by a direct approach and might feel pressured to give.
So what do you do to instill the biblical principles of God’s ownership, our stewardship, and a heart of love and generosity in your church?
Try an indirect approach – A stewardship small group is actually a good way to get started. Sometimes people get all the coaching and counseling they need just by reading God’s word in a small group. “Compass – Finances God’s Way,” offers a small group study that teaches these principles.
Offer some coaching help – Some people may need more one on one help, but you don’t have to create a special financial coaching ministry for them or feel like your church has to be full of the experts. There are Christian financial coaching ministries, such as Crown’s Money Life Mentors, that offer such a service for a moderate fee.
Follow through – You’ve helped organize small groups and referred those who need it to a Christian coaching program, so what else can you do to help people manage money God’s way? There are many people in your church who likely have financial peace because of their generosity and faithful stewardship. Bring them to the front and let them tell their stories!
Maybe churches don’t have to be successful in starting a financial coaching program, or maybe they don’t even need to start financial programs at all. However, a church is responsible for teaching what God’s word says about money and connecting the congregation with resources to help them allow God to use their finances to build his ministry.
Jason Price is a husband, dad, blogger, and budget coach passionate about personal finance, stewardship and a good cup of coffee. Jason encourages people to enjoy their lives without compromising smart financial decisions. Enjoy life, budget smart!