Finances make it possible to do what I believe is divine work in this world. Finances make ministry happen. Whatever one thinks that God does, divine action must occur through the created, concrete, real materials of human life. And, in our culture, human lives are enormously shaped by financial realities. Without financial means, a person is almost frozen in place, unable to move in society. Without financial means, doing God’s work becomes incredibly difficult.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think money is everything. One person can always share love and do God’s work for another. Sharing love shouldn’t cost anything at all. Yet, I also know the realities associated with a lack of financial resources. I know the realities associated with an inability to track and account for those resources. In our culture, money, for better or worse, operates like fuel, driving the engines of our work. To most effectively operate as conduits for God’s work, we must know how to manage and maintain financial resources. Finance and administration of finances matter because they provide the basis for so much of our work, whether it will be effective or fall short.
Good financial practices make ministry better. At their best, they are almost invisible as they empower God’s work in our individual lives and local churches. Without good practices, ministry slows or becomes inefficient, and bad practices cause conflict and foster distrust, the antitheses of God’s work. But, there’s also a limit. Financial administration must never become an idol or prevent ministry. We must pay enough attention to organizing and administering finances to ensure the most effective ministries, but we must not pay so much attention that those practices become the center of life.
My own vocation feels anchored in teaching people how to do just that: To structure finances to empower and unleash for real ministry, while ensuring we never push the organization and accounting so far that they become restrictive. If you’d like to learn this balance, please feel free to use all the resources you find here. Take a look at my blog and never hesitate to contact me for speaking engagements. I’d also love to hear from you on Twitter, Facebook or through my contact page.