Rick Warren: God's Plans for Your Ministerial Finances

(Unsplash/ Northfolk)

In ministry, tight personal budgets often come with the territory.

When Kay and I first moved from Texas to Southern California in 1979, we came with little money and a big vision. In fact, we didn't even have enough money for a motel the first night we were in Southern California.

We started Saddleback Church on faith.

When you have to stretch your finances to meet your obligations, you need to learn how to manage money effectively. Most pastors weren't taught how to do so in Bible college or seminary, but it's an incredibly important part of your ministry.

Throughout my ministry, I've used principles from the book of Proverbs to teach my congregation how to manage money. If you haven't made these five commitments, consider making them today.

Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

1. Keep good records. "Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and look well to your herds" (Prov. 27:23). One of the big reasons most people face pressure concerning their finances is they're not sure where their money is going. You need to know what you owe, what you own, what you earn and where it's going. Your first rule of financial freedom is to face the facts and be realistic about where you are.

When I first taught these principles in the early 1980s, we didn't have digital tools to help keep records. Today, you have all kinds of money-management tools at your disposal. It takes time, but keeping good records is worth it. Instead of spending time worrying about your finances because you're wondering where all your money went, keep good records.

2. Plan your spending. "The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty" (Prov. 21:5, NIV). I see haste all the time in impulsive buying, which leads to debt. But you can get your spending under control with a budget. A budget is simply planned spending. It's telling your money where you want it to go rather than wondering where it went.

3. Enjoy what you have. "Better to have little, with fear for the Lord, than to have great treasure and inner turmoil" (Prov. 15:16, NLT). Too often we struggle being satisfied with what we already have—we want more. That's why some pastors move to new churches so they can receive larger salaries. The solution is to learn contentment with what we have.

Paul reminds us in 1 Timothy 6:6-7 (NIV): "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it." Without contentment, our debt has a tendency to grow—and if we're not careful, we'll also stretch our family too thin and modify our ministry plans to get more.

4. Give 10% to God. "Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine" (Prov. 3:9-10). Honor God first with your money. Pastor, as you teach your congregation to tithe, you should do likewise. Lead by example. You've probably taught this principle many times before. Whatever you want God to bless—your marriage, your work or your finances—put Him first.

5. Save for the future.

"Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow" (Prov. 13:11). Practice living off of 80% of your income. Tithe 10% and save 10%. It takes discipline to live off of 80%, but it's worth it. You can follow this principle on any income level.

The reason we don't save more is because we have a live-for-today mentality. We spend everything we have. The Bible says that's not wise. Saving for the future is as much of a spiritual discipline as tithing.

The next time you go out shopping, ask yourself this question: "Do I need this, or can I put this money into savings?" That one question can help you save more and become a better steward of your finances.

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church, one of America's largest and most influential churches. He is the author of the New York Times' bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book The Purpose Driven Church was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. Pastor Rick started The PEACE Plan to show the local church how God works through ordinary people to address the five global giants of spiritual emptiness, self-serving leadership, poverty, disease and illiteracy. You can listen to Daily Hope, Pastor Rick's daily 25-minute audio teaching, or sign up for his free daily devotionals at PastorRick.com. He is also the founder of Pastors.com, a global online community created to encourage pastors.

For the original article, visit pastors.com.

Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Dr. Mark Rutland's

National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)

The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. taught by Dr. Mark Rutland. If you're the type of leader that likes to have total control over every aspect of your ministry and your future success, the NICL is right for you!

FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.

Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like you’re not growing? Do you need help from an expert in leadership? There is no other leadership training like the NICL. Gain the leadership skills and confidence you need to lead your church, business or ministry. Get ready to accomplish all of your God-given dreams. CLICK HERE for NICL training dates and details.

The NICL Online is an option for any leader with time or schedule constraints. It's also for leaders who want to expedite their training to receive advanced standing for Master Level credit hours. Work through Dr. Rutland's full training from the comfort of your home or ministry at your pace. Learn more about NICL Online. Learn more about NICL Online.

Charisma Leader — Serving and empowering church leaders