Updated: Sep 5, 2019
with Gary Montgomery
“Families that are spiritually grounded & financially healthy make churches that are missionally generous & economically sound.”
Your family is observing what you do with your money. But is it what you would want them to know? Are you handling it God’s way, the Best way? Whether it is or not, they are learning something every time they watch you make a credit card purchase, leave a tip after a meal at a restaurant, or place your offering in the collection plate.
Over the last 16 years that I have been in financial discipleship ministry, the #1 thing I hear stated every year remains the same: “I wish someone would have taught me to handle money God’s way when I was young, maybe then I wouldn’t be in the mess that I’m in.”
So, what can we do to help our children handle money in this world, that would also have benefit in the next? Show them the path to Jesus and help them learn and apply God’s financial principles.
Each generation is responsible for passing on the Gospel and teaching spiritual truths, including God’s financial principles. Scripture tells us to "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." – Proverbs 22:6
Practically speaking, that requires intentionality and financial faithfulness on the part of the parents, as well as instruction and guidance from the local church.
At home, that may mean creating regular financial teaching moments that can be discussed around the dinner table. It could be sharing about purchasing decisions at the grocery by talking about information that is on the shelf tag or teaching the importance of giving first, saving second, and making good spending decisions with the remainder. Later, when children start to earn an income, teach them how to set up, and utilize, a budget.
At church, we should build an environment that includes Biblical financial instruction from the pulpit, financial discipleship in the classroom, and modeling a Biblical perspective as we conduct business. We find that preaching about financial faithfulness motivates people into action, Biblical financial study is where the education and transformation takes place, and modeling God’s way of handling money practically demonstrates it.
Frequently, churches look at Biblical financial study (if they consider it at all) as a topic just for adults. However, it should be effectively taught for all ages from elementary school through high school & college, as well as adult and senior adult. Not only will it provide good practical application to help the next generation to handle money better than the current generation, but it is an effective part of discipleship.
The Bible is authoritative for spiritual and financial matters alike. In the Gospels, Jesus talked about money and possessions more than any other topic but the Kingdom of God. If it was that important to Jesus, it should be equally as important for the local church to teach Biblical financial principles as a regular part of discipleship training, for all ages.
This may be accomplished through age-appropriate Biblical financial studies like those found at www.compassebooks.org or www.compass1.org. Children enjoy these studies and they learn lessons that will last a lifetime. Adults find that, while they help them get into a better place financially, they fall more in love with Jesus Christ and God’s Word.
Successful churches know that they will only be as healthy, both spiritually and financially, as is determined by the collective spiritual and financial health of their members.
If you would like to develop a comprehensive Financial Discipleship & Generosity™ plan for your church, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to conduct a Compass Financial Discipleship & Generosity™ Church Assessment. We would consider it an honor to come alongside you to help you reach the objectives the Lord has placed on your heart.