We value being authentic, right? One of the things I LOVE about PCC is that we get to tell the truth - be honest about who we are, what we struggle with, and how we feel about things. So, I just wanted to share something that isn't hard to figure out about me: I hate talking about money! I don't mind doing it in small groups. I can easily discuss it over dinner. I like answering questions when they are initiated by others. My undergraduate degree is in Finance, so I can hold my own in fairly complex discussions about derivatives, small cap equities, spreads and inverted rate scenarios.
But when it comes to talking about personal finances at church, I really don't enjoy the conversation.
It's not the concepts that throw me, of course. It's the emotional part. I had conversations this weekend with folks who expressed relief that we would not be talking about money or promoting Project Freedom for a while. For some, they just aren't ready for money to be a part of the conversation about their spiritual journey. For others, there is a wound from a past experience with money and the church that was never really healed.
The church has done this to itself. Notable church pastors and leaders in every generation in my lifetime have been hypocritical on a personal level or dishonest on a professional one. Scandals have contributed to a general distrust. When the church talks about personal finance, plenty of people can't help but wonder, "What's the real agenda here?" Translation: "He might be saying he wants to help me, but what he really wants is for me to give more money to the church."
I don't blame people who feel this way. We deserve it (those of us in church leadership). Collectively, we've earned the poor reputation we have.
For the record, for whatever it's worth, I genuinely, honestly, sincerely believe that you cannot be healthy unless you turn your financial decisions over to God and the teachings of the Bible about money.
But I sure am glad I don't have to talk about it again for a while.
Final Note: People stay away from church when we talk about money. I know it. Pastors in general also know it. So, we're done with this for a while now at PCC. Tell your friends and family that it's safe to return. Invite someone new. Next week, we're starting a very compelling series called Imprint and I'm really excited about it!
See you Sunday!