Perhaps money is the elephant in your sanctuary, in your boardroom, in your sermon prep time, or in your family room. Whether we acknowledge it or not, our relationship with money informs and influences our ministries. While we proclaim our faith as a driving force behind our financial decisions, many of us in church leadership and membership prefer to limit the frequency and depth of our conversations about money. And yet, Jesus spoke freely and often about money.
Why are we hesitant to talk about money in our faith communities? Our parents taught us that finances were a private matter. Our pastors talked tithing and little else. Our Sunday school teachers (mistakenly) told us money was evil. Our money stories are complex and laden with regret and sometimes shame. We feel unprepared to teach, preach, and lead others into faithful stewardship of personal finances. We have never committed to theological reflection about resources, so we are unable to articulate a thoughtful and biblical theology of money. Whatever the reasons for being hesitant, they can be overcome.
Central’s Money & Ministry program aims to normalize conversation and reflection about personal and organizational finances. We are committed to talking about money freely and frequently. Financial coaching is now available as a complimentary student service for seminarians in all programs and any location, and a staff position is dedicated to providing this confidential service.
All new students receive an initial session as part of the enrollment process. Beyond the first conversation, students are invited to engage financial coaching as part of whole-person formation for ministry. In fact, every student who completes three sessions in an academic term receives a $200 incentive. So far, more than thirty students are taking advantage of this incredible opportunity to grow and develop as individuals and ministry leaders.
Seminarians recognize the necessity of being prepared for the financial realms of their ministries. Some are focused on personal preparation like debt reduction and household budgeting. Others are interested in learning to lead stewardship campaigns and preach faithful sermons about money. Still are others are thinking about what it means to live simply, to spend justly, and to save wisely. All are excellent topics for reflecting with a financial coach.
Let’s keep talking.