Do you find it hard to lead regarding church finance because you are distracted about your personal finances? Do you feel like you are not measuring up to what you preach and teach about money? Bringing a thoughtful consciousness to personal money management will help your leadership at church, because you will truly be putting your money where your mouth is. You will be clearer and calmer when preaching, teaching and providing administrative leadership about finances.
Here are three ways to work on managing money anxiety: first, monitor your spending and your time spent on money matters. As you pay attention, you may find yourself shifting your habits. Growth in this area will look different for different people. For some, lowered anxiety will mean spending less, as they find less need to shop to prop themselves up. For others, lowered anxiety may mean spending more, and not hoarding their money. For some, it will mean taking more time every week on finances, as they pay more attention rather than zoning out. For others, it means taking less time, as they don’t feel the need to hover over their investments.
Second, monitoryour intake of media reports on the national and international financial picture. They will not help you think more clearly about your own finances. If you are a news junkie, experiment with taking in a little less. Turn off the radio or set your home page to a non-news site. Much of the media designs its news offerings to get your attention by raising your anxiety, and spending a lot of time with it will not help you.
Third, cultivate a different perspective on your resources. Most of us have more than we think we have, not only financially but in other ways. I’m trying to develop a global perspective on my own resources. James E. Hughes is an attorney who works with families with significant wealth. Hughes’ suggestions for how families think through their own values could be applied by any family or individual. He suggests that families have three types of capital: human, intellectual, and financial. Human capital is the people in your family (he means extended family, not just nuclear family). Intellectual capital is the collective knowledge of the family, through life experience and other learning. Of course, financial capital is the family’s tangible resources. So if you think about your family from this perspective, you may see that you have more wealth than you thought. (James E. Hughes, Jr. Family Wealth, p. 17.) Take some time to reflect on your extended family and the resources you bring to each other and the world.
Lowering your anxiety about money even a little goes a long way, both at church and in personal life. You can see more options and be more creative as you manage your money and yourself in relation to your money. When you are calmer, you’ll find it easier to take a steady and thoughtful approach to managing your own money – and to leading in this area at church.
Rev. Margaret Marcuson works with churches that want to create a ministry that lasts and clergy who want more impact on the people they serve best. She is the author of Leaders Who Last: Sustaining Yourself and Your Ministry (Seabury, 2009). She served as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Gardner, Massachusetts for thirteen years.
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