When we’re handling our money poorly and feeling the effects of that mismanagement, it can be hard to nurture our relationship with Christ.
The Bible encourages us to turn to God when we’re discouraged or afraid. Isaiah 41:10 says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (NIV). That’s a great verse to keep on hand, but in reality, when there’s more month left at the end of the money and we’re fielding calls from debt collectors in our sleep, trusting in God can be the furthest thing from our minds—and we’re probably not thinking as much about discipling others, either.
That’s especially true for those who are early in their Christian walk. They’re not going to be interested in learning more about grace or salvation or agape love when their bank accounts are running low or creditors are scaring them about the future.
Keep in mind that financial discipleship is appropriate to every situation in life, including to those who have been Christians for decades. But it’s very important to include a conversation about money early in any discipleship journey. In fact, financial discipleship should be part of every new believer’s or new member’s ministry. Delaying financial discipleship could mean that pre-existing money problems might hinder an individual’s spiritual growth. And that could translate to roadblocks in their relationship with Christ. They’ll have to reconcile their money management with the Bible at some point, and financial discipleship creates a deeper walk with God when it takes place early.
Not only that, but money issues often overlap with other life challenges—values, parenting, relationships, priorities—that need to be addressed to open the door to a deeper, more authentic faith.
Even new Christians who seem to have their finances together need early financial discipleship. That’s because the pain points of poor financial stewardship can affect anyone, regardless of the size of their paycheck. Someone who makes $30,000 can be in a better place than someone making $300,000, simply because they live within their means. The opposite is true too, of course. What you see on the surface doesn’t always tell the whole story.
Regardless of a new church member’s background, when they realize that what the Bible says about money works, other areas of their life transform too. They experience peace, contentment and joy. The conflict in their marriage subsides. They establish boundaries with overbearing family members. Their kids begin to learn the importance of hard work and its relationship to money. Emergencies don’t become crises anymore. They know they’re blessed, and they want to be a blessing to others. They can deepen their relationship with Christ and become excited for others to know Him too.
When they experience a true heart change, they become a living testimony to God’s teachings on money and its power to bless lives. It also challenges them to bless others. Christians can give outrageously and embody a sense of peace that’s irresistible and intriguing, and that causes heads to turn. An individual’s new life creates moments ripe for further discipleship and the opportunity to bring others to Christ—all because they’ve realized that God calls us to live for Him rather than being slaves to debt and dollars.
What better way for these new Christians to deepen their faith and want to share it with others than through the power of a changed life that lives and gives like no one else?
Help your congregation learn practical steps to take control of their money and discover financial peace. Financial Peace University serves a small group curriculum and church-wide initiatives.