Over the next few blogs we are going to be highlighting some exciting things coming up in 2018, and this week I want to talk about opportunities to help you in your finances.
Often in the church when we talk about money, what we are really talking about is one of three things. How to get more money, how to save more money, or (frequently) how to give more money. There is a famous sermon by John Wesley that often gets referenced at times like these where he (hardly a prosperity preacher) exhorts Christians to earn all they can, and save all they can, so that they can give all that they can.
Not particularly bad advice.
But after almost a decade and a half in the pastorate, and after spending time with people who have had A LOT of money relative to the community, and people who have had almost no money relative to the community, what I have learned is that these things, while important, are ultimately second order issues.
The Bible is really interested in money, and wealth. But contrary to people who want to use it to prooftext their particular economic agenda - it doesn’t actually take much of a side when it comes to whether people are wealthy or poor. What it does say a lot about however, is our relationship to money. How we see it, how we use it, how important it is to us, and what our relationship to it tells us about our ultimate relationship to God.
The small group that I will be leading this upcoming semester will foundational deal with those questions. It will peer Into the questions of why we feel that money makes us secure; why we think that wealth brings happiness; what compulsive consumerism teaches us about how we see our needs being met (or not met) by God, and in what ways God might want to use us, and whatever wealth we have (or even don’t have) for HIS purposes. This is NOT a study primarily about how to get rich, how to manage your finances, or how to increase your giving to the church. Along the way we will touch on two of those three issues (hint - it won’t be the first), but this is a study fundamentally about realigning our relationship to our finances and putting them in the proper place relative to Christ.
There are several fantastic options for small groups this semester (you will hear more about them in the coming weeks) but I want you to be sure that the taboo nature of the topic of money doesn't keep you away from a study that many of us really need to participate in. I hope that many of you will join me on Thursday nights starting in February to realign your relationship with money.
And if you aren't interested, or can't make it to our Realign class, we also want to offer for you another opportunity to make wise financial decisions and to learn about the effects of our money as we near the end of our lives. To that end, we will be offering a special seminar at the end of March for those of you who recognize that "you can't take it with you" and want to be sure that what you leave behind goes where you want it to go and has the effect that you want it to have. Here's a blurb explaining what we have going on:
"Have a will that's been drafted before the Leaf's last won the cup and don't know if it's any good anymore? Don't have a will but have a new year's resolution? Just want to know more about the difference between wills, powers of attorney, and health care directives? Join us at at The Bridge Church on Sunday March 25 after the service for a free estate planning seminar, where our very own Tim Brown, a local lawyer reviews the need and components of a credible estate plan, and why everyone should have one. The session is free of charge and everyone is welcome for a relaxed, no-pressure environment focused on dispelling myths and stigma surrounding end-of-life planning."
In 2017, as a church, we got out corporate financial house in order (more on that great news in coming weeks). In 2018, let's help each other get our personal financial houses in order. We hope that one (or both) of these opportunities will help you to find some peace of mind and a new perspective moving forward.