Financial challenges, both personal and congregational, limit a minister’s capacity for thriving in ministry. These challenges are diverse and include any or all of the following: financial illiteracy, debt stress, diminishing resources, lack of confidence in money matters, scarcity mindset, absence of prior fundraising experience, ill preparedness for financial leadership. Recognizing this constellation of issues that threatens to undermine healthy ministry, Central prioritizes financial wellness as an essential ingredient in preparing ministers to thrive. Two new initiatives are currently being launched to support seminarians and pastors who seek financial wellness.
First, Nurturing Generosity, is a covenant group for church pastors. The group will gather next year, approximately once every other month. The meetings will include reflection and dialogue on topics related to faith, money, and giving with the understanding that reading and practice in context will occur in between. The Nurturing Generosity group intends to provide safe space for exploring personal money experiences and attitudes. The group will encourage clergy to learn, reflect, dialogue, and practice in the context of a peer group. The group seeks to return increasingly knowledgeable, reflective, and confident ministers back to their churches as fundraising practitioners.
Second, Financial Coaching, is now available to all Central seminarians. Our in-house research on financial literacy has taught us that information does not change behavior. However, individuals who work with a coach in the context of a long-term relationship are more likely to be thoughtful in money matters, attain financial goals and modify money habits. The goals of financial coaching vary by individual, but some possibilities include the following: increasing financial literacy/knowledge, setting specific financial goals, shaping a theology of money, gaining confidence and/or skills to lead others into faithful stewardship.
Through both initiatives Central seeks to equip and empower thriving ministers who are comfortable and confident to speak, teach, and lead generous congregations that can meet economic challenges with hope and confidence.
If you are interested in Financial Coaching or Nurturing Generosity, please contact Angela Barker Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 785-969-7596 to learn more.
Resources for Further Study:
Eric H.F. Law
The Paradox of Generosity: Giving we Receive, Grasping we Lose
Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson
Jesus and Money: A Guide for Times of Financial Crisis
Ben Witherington III
Enough: Discovering Joy through Simplicity and Generosity
Money & Possessions
A Spirituality of Fundraising