By Scott Noble
What’s one challenge pastors and ministry leaders face that their education rarely prepares them for? It’s a topic that’s infrequently offered in Bible school or seminary. You don’t see this course title next to Theology I or Old Testament II or Introduction to Greek.
Yet it’s an issue all leaders—and their churches—face.
Whether it’s the annual budget, spending for new programs or the comprehensive facility expansion plans, finances—and managing them effectively—play a critical role in every church, not to mention the future of the church, as well.
Yet when financial challenges arrive, pastors and ministry leaders rarely have a trusted resource to help navigate these potentially volatile waters.
Here are six potential financial challenges churches face:
1. Developing a ministry culture that embraces biblical, financial generosity.
People will tithe and give to their church for many reasons. But when a culture of generosity is instilled from leadership down, hearts are transformed and giving becomes transformational and not transactional.
2. Determining the financial capacity of your church project.
When considering a building project or expansion, one of the trickier components is determining your church’s financial capacity. How much can you expect to raise as a church based on current giving and time-tested assessment?
3. Discovering the resources needed to help manage church finances.
Sometimes this just means pointing you in the right direction, but it’s a crucial step in securing your church’s financial health.
4. Evaluating lenders who are best suited to finance your project.
Our approach focuses on being consultative, possessing a high level of church lending experience, being customized and personal, and on developing a long-term relationship.
5. Providing budgeting advice when taking on a campaign or mortgage for the first time, such as when new line items for debt repayment and extra facility expenses begin to be added to the budget.
New and larger buildings also cost more to heat, light, furnish and decorate. We’ve been through this process hundreds of times and understand the challenges affecting your specific situation.
6. Creating solutions to financial ministry struggles.
Let’s face it, not every project, program or campaign goes off without a hitch. There will be times when you need professional advice and resources that can help fix a problem, alleviate a pain point or make a move in the right direction.
Biblical Principles for Raising Money for Ministry
What’s the biggest factor between reaching your goals and stumbling out of the blocks? Implementing a biblical approach to raising money.
Here are four biblical principles—based on 1 Chronicles 28-29 when David raised resources for the temple—that can help your church reach its campaign goals:
The campaign should be based on a clear, compelling vision. This is a foundational step that invariably impacts the rest of the campaign. Miss on this crucial component, and your campaign will likely fail to reach its potential.
In 1 Chronicles 29, King David listened and followed God’s clear vision … this “‘is not for man but for the Lord God’” (1 Chronicles 29:1, NIV).
Strong Prayer Focus
Since sacrificial giving is dependent on one’s heart, prayer should be a strong focus throughout the process. Through prayer, our hearts are aligned with God’s will. He ultimately provides the resources for a campaign. He can take “loaves and fishes” and multiply them to meet your church’s ministry needs.
In 1 Chronicles 29:14 (NIV), David prayed, “Everything comes from You, and we have given You only what comes from Your hand.”
When we help a church through a capital campaign, we first invite advance commitments from ministry leaders. Their example encourages and motivates others to give—and it demonstrates that the financial goal is attainable.
King David and his leaders first committed their contributions to the building of the temple. “The people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord. David the king also rejoiced greatly” (1 Chronicles 29:9, NIV).
Then they invited the “rest of the people” to participate.
A successful campaign is built on wide participation. God uses equal sacrifice rather than equal-sized gifts. When giving sacrificially, we demonstrate obedience and gratitude for all God has given us.
In 2 Corinthians 8:12 (NLT), Paul tells the Corinthians: “Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have.”
Raising resources for a new facility or expanding your existing building can be a difficult task. But by following biblical examples, you can be one step closer to realizing your God-given aspirations!
Scott Noble is marketing and communications manager for Christian Investors Financial, www.christianinvestors.org. CIF helps churches solve problems to make them more effective in ministering to others through Investments, Loans and Campaigns & Consulting.