by Bruce Barkhauer
The course consists of three video lectures.
This first session focus on the idea that God ordains order – in the universe, your home, and in the church. The opening thoughts center on God calling order from the chaos so that creation can emerge and be successful. The conversation moves to explore the “household codes” found in the Bible that stress order and relationship. This naturally progresses to look at church leadership and the qualities and character that are required to hold positions of responsibility. Not surprisingly, the issue of self-discipline is lifted up. The question that is asked of Timothy (3:5) is significant for us: “If someone cannot manage their household, how can that person manage God’s church?”
This becomes our basis for understanding that managing our finances is a biblical concept, and it is the “Church’s business”. Jesus uses the example of constructing a tower as consideration for assessing the cost of discipleship. It is common sense to know that you have the resources to finish a project you begin – yet we do not often act this way with our own financial resources. Paul alludes to the practice of generosity as an act that is planned and managed (1 Corinthians 16:2). For pastors and church lay leaders, it is a key to our leadership success to have our financial house in order. This way we lead from a position of strength and our words possess integrity.
Questions for reflection on Session One:
Session two deals primarily with ten principles that make “economic sense” for ordering your household and that can lead to financial stability. While understood to common sense ideas, for some reason, most of us do not follow these rules, and it is why we experience financial chaos.
The Ten Economic Rules are:
Think about money, its power and influence and the importance of understanding how money works in our lives. How does having money make me feel? How does a lack of money make me feel? What does my philosophy on money reveal about my character? Do I comprehend what motivates me to buy? How does money function in a community (are there responsibilities to a greater good that I am obligated to if I have money)? The importance of setting goals and priorities is explored. The fundamentals of saving and identifying the essential expenses in your home are covered.
Questions for reflection and discussion on Session Two:
This section is a simple walkthrough of the process of building the budget and the importance of accruing money for upcoming expenses. Debt reduction is also discussed along with strategies for paying off credit cards.
Questions for reflection and discussion on Session Three:
The presentation takes a very modest view regarding giving and the practice of stewardship. The budget presented only shows 5% designated for charity. This is done intentionally to present to those who are just beginning the budgeting process an “achievable” level of generosity while ordering the rest of the finances. (Note that it also shows only 5% for savings, while the stated goals are much higher.) A place for discussion opens up for the facilitator about “how much” is appropriate for charitable contributions. For church leaders and pastors, the desired amount should be a tithe. Do you agree or disagree?
The Center for Faith and Giving teaches the tithe as “floor” rather than a “ceiling”, believing that the biblical witness teaches this type of generous practice as appropriate for God’s people. For pastors and church leaders to lead with integrity, we believe that they should be growing to this level, and hopefully beyond. This is explored in further depth in other curriculum.
Download from the Virtual Classroom's Materials Directory.