Leading on Issues of Money
Being wise about money is one of the crucial characteristics of effective church leadership, yet this is precisely one of the greatest deficits in our leaders, our congregations, and our theological education programs today.Auburn believes that preparing leaders to work on the expanding “frontier” of ministry and money is one of the most urgent issues facing theological education today.
Auburn identifies being “wise about money” as a key characteristic of effective religious leadership. To equip leaders who are wise about money, we developed a comprehensive and holistic educational focus on “Wisdom in Abundance: Effective Christian Leadership on Money” through the Center for Christian Leadership. Church leaders who are wise about money have a sophisticated understanding of the following dimensions of money and understand their essential interrelatedness:
1) Theological/Spiritual Issues – Dealing with money is first and foremost a spiritual issue. Through its research and educational offerings, the Wisdom in Abundance program offers resources and courses designed to help church leaders develop a vibrant and faithful practical theology of economic life.
2) Pastoral Issues – Significant aspects of pastoral ministry include talking to members about money and giving; equipping and empowering them as fundraisers; and, counseling them on financial and philanthropic decisions.
3) Personal Finance – This program will help pastors develop healthy personal financial practices (e.g., making and keeping a household budget that balances spending, saving, investing, and giving) to embody the convictions discussed in the "Theological / Spiritual" dimension. In doing so, we will help to address a pressing clergy wellness issue, and equip clergy to be effective pastors and leaders in modeling a positive Christian discipleship of personal finance.
4) Raising Money – Pastors will understand how to translate the spiritual, theological, pastoral, and personal dimensions mentioned already into dynamic fundraising ministries in their congregations. Equipping pastors to lead effective annual campaigns, solicit major gifts, plan and manage capital campaigns, cultivate planned gifts, and form members into fundraising ministers themselves is crucial.
5) Managing Money – Separating the management of money from the raising of money is vital, as it recognizes the vital role of each activity and creates space for each to be practiced effectively. This allows the raising of money to claim its theological emphases on gratitude and generosity, while the management of money can make the best use of the traditional notions of “stewardship,” which emphasizes prudence and responsibility.
6) Economic Theory and “Reality” – Clergy dneed to be equipped with an understanding of the values, assumptions, and theories that undergird the contemporary American free market economy and the overall global economy if they are to be taken seriously as leaders on issues of economic ethics. Current economic theories and practices need not (and should not) go unchallenged.
The interconnectedness of these different issues calls for an innovative approach in order to develop Christian leaders who are “wise about money.”