This weekend, we are celebrating the release of our newest book Churchmoney: Rebuilding the Way We Fund Our Mission. The book is the story of our successes and failures with raising money at our parish and the practical lessons we learned along the way.
The book came to be because we believe money is an important issue that is often ignored in parishes until it can’t be ignored, until it becomes a critical, oftentimes crushing issue. So, we wanted to share with other parishes and church leaders the lessons we have learned from our parish.
One of the key lessons we have learned is that money is a leadership issue. You can’t lead a department, manage an organization, raise your family, or rebuild a parish without confronting the issue of money. Maybe that lesson is obvious to you, but we had to learn that lesson (over the years we have developed a tremendous grasp of the obvious).
We wrote the book to encourage other church leaders and staff to lean into this aspect of leadership, to embrace it and not to be afraid of it. At an early point in our capital campaign for our new building, I felt nervous and overwhelmed by the staggering amount of money we had to raise. But at one critical juncture, I was encouraged by someone who said to me, “You don’t have to do this. You get to do this.” And that is exactly the point.
We wrote our book to convey a very simple message that has simply been lost on the larger Church: How we follow Jesus and how we handle our money go hand in hand. You cannot separate the two. You cannot be a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ without making him the Lord of your finances. So, the key to financial health and success in a parish will be found by embracing our mission to make disciples.
This is why we spend three chapters of the book explaining what Jesus and the early Christians taught about money. We researched the New Testament to find every verse we could identify that talks about how to handle money and finances. We discovered it has quite a lot to say about money because the Lord knows how it directs our decisions, impacts our relationships, and holds our hearts.
Cash is crucial to funding our ministries, but it isn’t about the money.
- It’s not about the money, it’s about loving God.
- It’s not about the money, it’s about honoring Christ and what he told us about money.
- It’s not about the money, it’s about loving others and helping them fall in love with their Savior.
We serve God, who owns it all. Everything belongs to him. One day everyone will know that. Until then we have work to do.
Because in the end, it isn’t about money; it’s about the eternal impact we can make with money.