Building a Financially Literate Church Family
When it comes to church finances, it's not just about balancing the books or paying the bills on time – which are absolutely very important by the way. It's also about equipping our congregation members with the knowledge and tools they need to be responsible stewards of their own finances. By building a financially literate church community, we can help individuals manage their money wisely, reduce financial stress, and enable greater generosity. So, let's dive into some practical strategies and resources for achieving this goal.
The first step in building a financially literate church community is education. We need to provide resources and opportunities for our congregation members to learn about budgeting, debt management, and responsible financial stewardship. Consider organizing workshops or seminars led by financial professionals who can share practical insights and answer questions.
Churches can consider creating small groups or classes focused on financial literacy within your church. These groups can provide a supportive environment for people to learn together and share their experiences.
Most churches have members that are accountants, financial advisors, tax professionals or even a financially successful person that can help offer training opportunities for things such as:
1. how to set up a family budget – many people don’t like that word, but if you don’t control your money, it will control you.
2. ways to save on monthly expenses – cutting unnecessary monthly expenses such as cable vs. free streaming services, monthly subscriptions you’re not even using, using coupons or purchasing when items are on sale, eating out less often, etc.
3. how to save for emergencies – an ER fund is vital to gaining peace
4. Another crucial aspect of building a financially literate church community is addressing the issue of debt. Debt can be a significant burden for individuals and families, limiting their ability to give and serve freely. As church leaders, you can provide resources and guidance on debt management and encourage responsible borrowing practices and how to avoid unnecessary debt – do you really need that 2023 new car, or can you fix the one you have? Or buy one a few years older with low miles?
5. how to eliminate debt
6. how to prioritize their financial goals and set up things for a more secure financial future – retirement, savings, etc.
7. giving generously – after creating the budget and sticking to it, this is the most important aspect of financial security
It's incredible to see how people's lives can be transformed through this process.
Alongside educational resources, it's essential to foster open and transparent communication about church finances. When your congregation understands how their giving is used and sees the impact of their contributions, it builds trust and encourages greater engagement.
One effective way to communicate about church finances is by providing regular updates during worship services or through newsletters. Share stories of how the church's financial resources have supported ministries, missions, and outreach programs.
I have talked on the podcast previously about the importance of issuing contribution statements on a regular basis and including a contribution statement supplement to help your donors know how their contributions are making a difference within their church, community and world. Whether it's providing food for the hungry or offering scholarships for underprivileged students, every dollar counts and makes a difference.
Finally, let's not forget the power of leading by example. As church leaders, you should model responsible financial stewardship in your own lives. When your congregation sees that you handle your finances with integrity and wisdom, it strengthens the credibility of your message
~ Bookkeeping with a Purpose podcast Episode #24