Why Money Management Matters In Ministry

I apologize, I believe I forgot to wish some of you a Happy New Fiscal Year this past Friday.  Maybe your fiscal year ends in December, but at my church it ends in June.  For many of us the end of a fiscal year brings anxiety because it means new budgets and salaries.  A real sensitive subject, something we as youth ministers should talk more about because frankly it’s a real heart issue.
We could talk about how underpaid we feel or how our budgets are just plain old silly, but I believe before we can even have that conversation we should review our personal money habits.  Because if we are bad money managers it will affect our ministry.  How do you know if you are one?  Ask yourself:

  • Do I count every penny? Just like every person has a purpose, so does every penny.  If you don’t budget everything from your fixed expenses (i.e. rent/mortgage) to your spending you won’t really know. 
  • Do I give ten first? Or do you tithe?  Not just give, but give 10%, the first 10% of your gross income?  Tithing isn’t just about supporting the local church it’s about trusting God.  If you can’t trust God with the money that you earn, how can you trust anyone else?
  • Do I save first and spend last?  We have a tendency (and I’m certainly guilty) of putting it on the credit card, or taking out a loan, because we need it now.  There will be times when you absolutely need to buy something (like gasoline), but most times we just need to show patience.  So, are you patient?

How does this affect ministry?  It affects:

  • How we grow disciples:  Financial stewardship is a Biblical principle we should be teaching to teens.  
  • How we support our support:  Our salaries affect our families, if we aren’t taking care of them, how can they take care of us?
  • Our relationship with leadership:  Whenever we come up short or take on a little debt, it’s easy to say, “If I only got paid more things would be better.” Resentment can build up which is unfair when our lack of dollars could be due to poor money management. 
  • Our relationship with God: If you aren’t giving you are not trusting God.  All He wants is 10%, and He says that He’ll spoil you…so do you really trust Him?

I’m not denying the fact that many youth workers are underpaid, but even if our paychecks are smal we need to ask, “Am I managing money wisely?”  For many of us money management is a foreign concept, even a little intimidating.  So I suggest finding someone in your church who will help you with your personal and even your ministry’s budget.  By gaining guidance and accountability you can be sure that your never cheating your ministry, your self and God.

What’s your view of money in ministry?  Is it important or am I overreacting?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • It is so important Chris! Good article. I believe that personal finance has more to do with character and decisions one makes than how big their paycheck is. The same goes for your ministry budget, if you decide to work with what you have, to not overspend, and to not complain your money will not only go further, but you will be much happier! 🙂

    And giving is an absolute necessity. I used to say “I work for the church so I don’t need to tithe, my service is my giving” but since my wife and I have begun tithing, our money has actually gone further and done more. God truly blesses those who trust Him!

  • Jake,

    Thanks for sharing, I know it was difficult for me to start tithing, but the blessings are there. I also know that counting each penny while tedious is so important because in the end they all add up.
    I’ve used Dave Ramsey’s Generation Change to help students manage money wisely, what have others used?

  • As with most things in life (everything probably) integrity in one area translates to integrity (or lack thereof) in another. If you’re not a good keeper of your measly ministry budget, will you demonstrate integrity in other areas of ministry (or life)? Probably note. Irresponsibility is rarely relegated to one area of life. Great post!

  • Jeff,

    Well said as much as we try to keep the professional and private separated they will still be connected. It’s important to constantly examine one’s heart.