Ugh. Preaching about Money.
I know, I know. You’re sick and tired of hearing about Rev. Adam Hamilton. “Adam Hamilton’s an advisor to President Obama.” “Adam Hamilton has the largest United Methodist Church in the U.S.” “Adam Hamilton preached at the Inaugural Prayer Breakfast.” “Adam Hamilton has a thought and it goes right to the publisher (23 books and counting).” Adam Hamilton this! Adam Hamilton that! Enough!
Funny you should mention that because one of Hamilton’s books (which has a supplemental DVD and study guide) is named just that – “Enough: Discovering Joy through Simplicity and Generosity.” There’s a reason Hamilton is so well regarded. He does good stuff.
My Sunday School class has been watching the “Enough” series of edited sermons and having great discussions. Yes. We are talking openly about our possessions and money and the power both can have over our lives. It’s been drawing us closer to each other and to God.
[Side note and fun fact that I learned from Adam (my good friend): “Prodigal” as in “prodigal son” means to be a waster of money – not someone returning home. I’m sure you already knew that, but where have I been?! Having just watched “The Wolf of Wall Street,” I now have a pretty good idea of what “prodigal” means. It’s not pretty.]
When Hamilton preaches on money and finances, attendance goes up. The question is, “why”? Maybe…
1. Even though they say they don’t like to talk about money, people desperately know that it takes a too prominent a place in their lives. They want to know what to do about that.
2. If people are serious about their faith and walk with Christ, they want guidance on how to avoid serving both God and mammon. That doesn’t come through osmosis. Someone needs to help provide a Biblical foundation.
3. A person’s relationship with money is about so much more than what’s in a wallet. It gets at the very core of who you are. In “Enough,” Hamilton asks the fundamental question: “What’s your life’s purpose?”
Preaching about money is not about trying to get more of it in the offering plate – it’s about helping your congregation search their hearts and get closer to God. It’s about helping them figure out how they can become better stewards of all that God has given them.
So really, preaching about money shouldn’t be seen as an “ugh” duty. Like you do with all your other sermons, ultimately you want to help usher in the kingdom of God – right here on earth. It’s your job – your privilege – to challenge and support your congregation as they grow in discipleship and as they strive to honor God with all their possessions. There’s nothing “ugh” about that – it’s a fantastic blessing.
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 over $2.5 million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She would love to hear Rev. Hamilton preach in person – especially if it was at the White House with President and Mrs. Obama. Call anytime, her schedule is open. 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; she is available to consult with churches in Oregon and Idaho. You can reach her at email@example.com.
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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.