We are preparing our congregational budget for 2011. What a wonderful opportunity for us to take a serious look at what we value, as individuals and as a church, and how we will live into and support those values. We often avoid speaking about finances directly, but I invite you to be in prayer about money. Whether you have plenty or barely scrape by, whether you are a cheerful giver or living scarcely, money and the choices we make with it affect us all. Consider some of the following statistics:
The average Christian in North America today gives 2.5% of his/her income to God’s work, and spends 10% of his/her income on debt interest.
Over one third of church attendees give no offerings at all.
In 1933, in the heart of the depression, American Christians gave a larger percentage of their income to the church than they did in 2007, at the height of our affluence.
A recent survey of Canadian Christians revealed that over 60% would prefer to talk to their pastor about their sex life than about their personal finances.
The average North American child in the 4-12 age range has $1,200 per year of disposable income. More than 2 billion families world-wide have less.
Scripture contains 2,172 verses on material possessions and our use of them.
What does the Bible teach us about our finances?
God cares deeply about our attitudes and actions regarding money and possessions.
Our God is generous, and has richly blessed us. God expects us to be generous in turn.
God cares deeply about the poor, marginalized and oppressed, and expects us to do something about it.
God counts by percentage given, not total dollars.
As we prepare to allot our resources for the coming year, pray that God will direct us as a church, and each of us as individuals as we discern where and how we will use our money.
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