As a guest teacher at a church, I taught on God’s plan for the money we have been given. Afterward, the pastor came up to me and thanked me for teaching about money. He said that he hated teaching about finances and typically avoided it. Unfortunately, I know that he is not alone.
Money is a sensitive topic, often because so many people either manage it poorly or are way too attached to it. And even though Jesus taught much about money, it is somewhat a taboo topic for church leaders. Why do church leaders avoid the topic of money?
Here are six reasons why church leaders are afraid to talk about money:
- Fear of being grouped with a few. There is a small group of church leaders that abuse their platform for personal financial gain. Unfortunately, this type of abuse gets a lot of attention, much more than the majority of church leaders who talk about money with the same motivation as Jesus.
- Fear that talking about money is heard as asking for money. Church leaders know that as soon as the word “money” is uttered from their mouths, some people in the church will assume they are asking for money, again. Even if the church leader has no intention to ask for money but is simply teaching about money, these people shut down. And it discourages church leaders from talking about money.
- Fear of reducing attendance. If they are simply teaching the church what the Bible says about money, this should not be a concern for church leaders. But for many it is. The fear of being seen as an earthly failure frightens some church leaders. And if avoiding the topic of money is one way to mitigate perceived failure, they do it.
- Fear of turning off guests. Church leaders want guests to attend. They want guests to feel welcome. These are great things to desire. Unfortunately, some church leaders allow their desire for guests to feel welcome lead them to avoid topics like money. Yet for many guests, a Biblical perspective on money is exactly what they need to hear.
- Fear of hate mail. Church leaders know that it is almost inevitable that they will be criticized for talking about money. Many people in the church have significant financial issues. And they don’t want to think about it, especially at church. Church leaders know when they talk about money, they can expect their email inbox to blow up with criticism.
- Fear of conviction regarding their own finances. There is an unfortunate reality that some church leaders are in a financial mess. They never learned how to manage their money well and are experiencing the fruit of several poor decisions. So they feel like hypocrites when they talk about God’s plan for money. And so they ignore the topic to avoid the personal conviction.
These six fears are real to a number of church leaders today. Money is a sensitive topic. But God’s perspective on money must be heard. It is His design that leads us to steward our money for greater satisfaction and significant, eternal impact. God has designed us to be conduits through which His generosity flows. It is a message all need to hear.