Preaching About Money: Somebody’s Gotta Do It
Let’s face it. It’s not easy to preach about money. You’re nervous that someone will call you on the carpet for “talking about money all the time” or someone will be offended (yet again) by your message. I get it. Between politics (well, in some congregations) and sex, money is one of the three Big Taboos in the church. It’s such a forbidden topic that we relegate it to maybe two or three Sundays in October or November when we can give advance notice about what to expect. “Hey everyone! It’s Stewardship Month! Don’t be afraid! We’re going to (maybe) talk about money (but not too much)! It won’t be that bad!”
So you can imagine how excited I was to read a recent Facebook update by Rev. Karen Puckett Hernandez from Kuna United Methodist Church in Idaho: “People really liked a sermon that basically urged them to give more money!”
I thought to myself – “What in the world did she say that would make her post such a crazy statement?” Karen was kind enough to share her sermon with me – so here it is.
Karen’s sermon got a good response for a couple of reasons. While she didn’t employ all these ideas, here are some things she did talk about along with some additional ideas to keep in mind when you preach about money:
• If you are uncomfortable, let people know. There’s no shame in telling the truth.
• Tell them your own story. What were you told about money growing up? What has happened recently that has expanded your understanding of faith and money? People in the pews want to know if you struggle, just like they do.
• Make the scripture real. The Bible is full of amazing stories about the sacrifice (financial and otherwise) of people to fulfill God’s intentions in the world.
• Emphasize the good money can do in the world. Too many people focus on “filthy lucre” or incorrectly quote “money is the root of all evil” (because – and this is true – “the love of money is the root of all evil”) or bring up annoying tele-evangelists. Don’t let this stop you. People forget that cash can often do what time and talent cannot.
What you say about money and how you say it can make all the difference. Here’s praying that you too will be able to say, “People really liked a sermon that basically urged them to give more money!” That’s powerful testimony.
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past decade, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise nearly $2 million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She served as the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.