As we’ve traveled the country working with hundreds of churches, I’ve noticed a connection between the financial condition of the pastor and the financial condition of the church. That observation has led to the formulation of this principle.
Broke pastors attract broke people.
A pastor living in debt is the pace car for the congregation’s generosity. Your church can’t move on to financial health, because their leader isn’t financially healthy. The people in your church are going to follow your lead, and in this case, you are leading them into a 24.99% APR.
You attract who you are. If you care about reaching the down and out, then chances are, the down and out find a place of comfort in your church. If you love verse-by-verse, angry preaching, then your church is probably filled with angry Calvinists. And if Joe’s PayDay Pawn Shop has your car title in their safe, your people are struggling to make their car payments.
Broke pastors can’t lead broke people to financial freedom, because they haven’t experienced it themselves. If you’re in debt personally, you’re not going to be able to lead your church to financial health.
If you’re in debt, then chances are, you’re avoiding talking about Biblical financial principles. It’s the reason you’ve never seen a fat preacher preaching about gluttony. You’re not going to be honest with your church, because you’re not being honest with yourself. Or if you are preaching the truth to your congregation without living it in your life, you’re a hypocrite.
If everyone in your church was in your financial position, would your church be strapped or blessed?
This post is based on a chapter from 39 Things Pastors Need to Know About Money, a new book being released by Giving Rocket in 2012. Giving Rocket members received an advance copy.