Many pastors, ministers, family counselors and most families have seen the devastating impact of financial stress and poverty. Christians and churches are not exempt.
Families are torn apart. Churches are not built. Missionaries are not sent. Dreams are unfulfilled. Growth of the kingdom is hindered. Yet according to His own words, Jesus came that we may have an abundant life.
"The thief does not come, except to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).
Where is the disconnect between the promises of God and what is too often observed in our churches and among Christians? Is the problem a lack of knowledge, stewardship, mentoring, faith or sin? Maybe the problem persists because of all or a combination of these and other factors. Is there hope? Can the situation be reversed? What should we be doing to ensure the promises of kingdom finances flow to Christians in our flock and to our churches?
Fortunately, there is hope. I have had conversations with born-again, Spirit filled, Christian millionaires and billionaires. I have read the testimonies of scores of others. All, without exception, testify of the goodness of God and of His faithfulness to His promises. I have been in megachurches throughout the world that were built by successful Christian business people and other faithful congregants. Many of these megachurches were built in challenging economic and political environments. Examples exist. These examples must be replicated.
Churches should take the following steps to appropriate the promises of kingdom finances to our congregations:
1. Teach the uncompromising word of God regarding kingdom finances. Emphasize the promises of God, repentance, faith, stewardship, giving, and the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit.
2. Begin a course on Christian personal financial management. Encourage all to attend. Require those receiving church financial assistance to attend.
3. Develop a mentoring program. Establish personal mentors for individuals wanting to take control of their finances. Establish business mentors for those wishing to start or expand their businesses.
4. Develop a network of businesses that can help provide funding for special projects and employment opportunities to members.
5. Set the example in managing church finances. Keep members informed of church finances and priorities.
"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or imagine, according to the power that works in us" (Eph. 3:20).
Dr. James Russell is a professor of economics and undergraduate chair of the College of Business at Oral Roberts University.
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