As a pastor, it’s drilled into your head that you don’t talk about money. Ever. Never ever. I don’t know who drills that in there, necessarily, but it’s true. Or at least I think it is. With all those drill holes, I have a lot of short-term memory loss.
What was I talking about?
Oh yeah…it’s as though talking about money automatically lumps you in with the TV fruitca…um…preachers who claim God will call them home if you don’t send them a bajillion dollars. And also they own gold-plated bookshelves on which they display their lead crystal replicas of their customized antique car collection. Their wives’ makeup alone must set them back a small fortune.
I always get a little nervous when as a church we talk about money. Straight up, I know that money is not a topic to be avoided. Jesus talked about money plenty. And since he didn’t have plenty of money, he could get away with it with no ulterior motives (plus he had the whole deity thing going, so that probably stood for itself). Jesus made less money than I did in my first job as a youth pastor, so that says something right there.
I digress. (Hello, drill holes!) As the guest-services go-to guy around here, I naturally look at everything through the perspective of a guest. How is the traffic flow? Are people friendly enough? Is the signage clear? Did we just ask people to commit to give over and above their tithe for the next three years? You can see where I’m going with this.
That’s why I’ve been so shocked and gratified with the response to Believe. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve heard from not one, but four guests who have started attending the Summit during the Believe project. You would think that sermons on money would cause people to cringe and question, duck and run. But for these four guests (and the dozens more I assume they represent), the sermons haven’t run them off, they’ve grafted them in. They are able to hear where we’re headed as a church. They understand that we’re not building buildings, we’re launching a movement. They understand this money isn’t about us, but about our community and about carrying the gospel to the ends of the earth. And they’ve realized this is the place where they want to be a part.
We’re heading towards Commitment Sunday, and the stories that I’ve heard of commitment and sacrifice are nothing short of incredible. Yep, we’re talking about money, but it’s what is going to happen with that money that’s really talking.