The Gospel Message and Money

by | September 1, 2016

In my consulting work, I have often met pastors who would prefer to separate themselves from anything that has to do with money. Either they have a skewed view of money as it relates to the gospel, or they are afraid to get in trouble with members by addressing the subject. Our seminaries have generally done a poor job of instructing pastors on how to deal with the spiritual issues around money, so avoidance often seems the easier path.

Recently, I received this email from a pastor who was reluctant to preach on stewardship and generosity during the church’s capital campaign:

“I am not keen on preaching an entire sermon series in order for people to give financially to this project. I think that is not the purpose of preaching - which is to proclaim the gospel - and turns me into a campaigner, fundraiser.”

This pastor was unable to make the connection between financial generosity and the message of the gospel. However, the overall message of the gospel is one of generosity—yes, even financial generosity.

For example, let’s take the final days before Jesus’ resurrection and see what we can learn about financial generosity.

Six days before Passover, Mary anoints Jesus with expensive perfume. John 12 is one account of the story in which Mary uses the perfume that cost a year’s wages in order to glorify Jesus. Of course Judas objects (more on that later)!

Mark 11 tells of the beginning of Jesus’ trip into Jerusalem. Jesus tells the disciples to go into the village and get a donkey that is tied up for him to ride on it. He tells them that if anyone objects to tell them “the Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.” There was an objection, but the disciples followed Jesus’ orders. Jesus was able to ride into Jerusalem on that donkey because someone was willing to loan this donkey and trust it would be returned.

In Mark 14 and in the other gospels, we see Judas betraying Jesus. We know that Judas did this for thirty pieces of silver. You might ask how this is a story of generosity? We know that Judas was greedy which is the reason he betrayed Jesus. Had Judas properly understood money and generosity, he would have likely been guarded from such greed.

Finally, after Jesus dies on the cross, we see Joseph of Arimethea and Nicodemus preparing his body and burying him. In John 19 and other places, Nicodemus buys the cloth, the perfumes and spices to take care of the body. We also know that Joseph provided the tomb for the burial.

Even in Jesus’ final days, we see multiple acts of FINANCIAL generosity! If you’re going to tell the Gospel story, generosity…FINANCIAL generosity needs to be at the heart of it. It’s the same in our lives. We can’t live the life God wants for us without being generous with our money.


Image:  “Open Bible with Pen” by Ryk Neethling is licensed under CC BY 2.0


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Everything you need to inspire generosity.


Are You Ready for a Capital Campaign?

How do you know if you are ready to launch a capital campaign?  


Kristine Miller, CFRE, Horizons’ Senior Partner, discusses the five important steps you should take prior to launching a capital campaign to ensure successful results.


In this latest video from Horizons’ Giving Intelligence Series, Kristine discusses five actions to take prior to launching a campaign for any project such as building, restoration, debt, missions, endowment, or any other capital needs. Has your church leadership wondered whether or not you’re ready to go? If so, this brief video will provide the insights and answers you are looking for.


If you missed other installments of the Giving Intelligence Series, click the titles below. Also, sign up for Giving365 in order to access these and other helpful videos as well as more free stewardship resources including insightful eBooks!

Three Reasons Americans Choose to Give

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To access more of Horizons’ free stewardship resources, click the Giving365 logo below.
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A Story of Faith and Transformation You Need to Know

In 2016, St. Andrew, Plano, Texas, faced a significant challenge. Located in Collin County, Texas, one of the fastest growing areas in the nation, St. Andrew was experiencing growth, especially in their contemporary worship service. As a result, several other areas including children and youth, missions, hospitality, and parking were all being stretched beyond capacity to accommodate growth.

St. Andrew’s Growth Paralleled a Focus on Generosity in Their Core Church Language

However, St. Andrew’s leaders had been preparing for growth through the development of their 30-year master expansion plan. The plan focused on four aspects of church life: worship, connect, serve, and give. As growing pains became more intense, church leaders realized it was time to launch a capital campaign. The funds raised would relieve the pressure by beginning to expand critical ministry areas according to the master plan.

Four key aspects of church life at St. Andrew: Worship, Connect, Serve, and Give


The Church’s Capital Campaign Facilitated its Larger Generosity Strategy

St. Andrew’s Senior Pastor, Robert Hasley, explained, “We hired Horizons to guide us in determining what to include in the first phase of our capital campaign. Through conversations with our ministry and financial leaders, our committed core of members, and ultimately, the entire congregation, we embarked on an ambitious plan. The result is a worship space that switches from a traditional to a contemporary style with almost the touch of a button.

We now have a worship space that switches from a traditional to a contemporary style with almost the touch of a button.

-Senior Pastor Robert Hasley

This change has enabled us to reset quickly while accommodating both traditional and contemporary worship styles. We also created new and improved areas for students,  children, hospitality, and parking. One of the more significant changes was the addition of a dedicated missions wing for The Storehouse of Collin County–an agency birthed in our church that provides services for Collin County residents in need.”

A Successful Capital Campaign Paid Additional Dividends

In the end, St. Andrew exceeded giving expectations in the capital campaign and moved forward with their plans. In addition, the positivity emerging from the capital campaign created a vibrancy and energy that has impacted ministry in all areas. Rev. Hasley says, “Like our namesake, Andrew the Apostle, we’re a community that loves to invite others to Jesus. As we live out our calling to worship, connect, serve and give, we’re witnessing God move through our community in remarkable ways.”

St. Andrew exceeded giving expectations and moved forward with their expansion plans.

St. Andrew’s journey is far from over. God continues to call the congregation to live out their mission, “Calling the “Christian-ish” to become passionate servants of Christ.”

For more information on the ministry at St. Andrew, Plano, Texas, click here.

To learn more about partnering with Horizons to move your congregation to the next level of generosity, click here.

The Three Pockets of Giving

Are you inviting your members to contribute from all three pockets of giving?

Many churches focus on the annual pocket and neglect to consider the other two–capital and estate pockets. In this next video in the Giving Intelligence Series, learn about the three pockets of giving and why you should be including all three in your year-round generosity program.



Did you miss the first three installments of the Giving Intelligence Series?  Click the titles below to quickly access them or sign up for Giving365 and access these videos along with many other free stewardship resources.

Three Reasons Americans Choose to Give

The Power of Thanks: Four Practical Ministry Funding Impact Strategies

Who Should Have Access to the Giving Records


To access more of Horizons’ free stewardship resources, click the Giving365 logo below.
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