Leading in Finances

Pastoral Ministry

The last person I heard speak to a group of Christians about raising money for ministry polarized the room. This was partly to do with how that person insisted on getting Bible references to support their ideas. As a result, it seemed to me that half the group couldn’t stop talking about what they saw as bad exegesis, while the other half were wondering why they weren’t taught this at theological college. So I approach this topic with some trepidation, because things you say on a topic such as this can sometimes lead people to tar you with a certain brush. (more…)

Editorial: Our blind spot


As you may already know, money doesn’t buy you happiness.  Professors Alan Krueger and Daniel Kahneman explain:

The belief that high income is associated with good mood is widespread but mostly illusory. People with above-average income are relatively satisfied with their lives but are barely happier than others in moment-to-moment experience, tend to be more tense, and do not spend more time in particularly enjoyable activities.1

The ‘happiness threshold’ in the US seems to be about $12,000-15,000 per year. Any less than that really means living hand-to-mouth, which is understandably quite stressful. Earning above that threshold, however, is not strongly correlated with more happiness. In fact, people who earn less than $20,000 are often happier and more satisfied than those earning more than $100,000. (more…)


Up front

Of all the addictions, one of the worst is gambling. Most chemical addictions are stopped by unconsciousness, but gamblers know no stopping: there is always one more throw of the dice, one more hand to play, one more person to borrow from. Their lives are filled with expensive thrills and deep desperation. (more…)

Prosperity teaching without the bling

Up front

Reading through Beyond Greed in the lead-up to Christmas last year made me think again about ‘prosperity teaching’ and whether I’m as immune to it as I like to think I am. I can spot the Joel Osteen variety a mile off, but when it comes without those trappings, I’m not so sure that I’m as good at spotting it and guarding my heart against its temptations. Yet, if Jesus says it’s the ‘deceitfulness’ of wealth that makes it so dangerous to my perseverance and fruitfulness as a disciple (Mark 4:19), then I need to be on guard for the subtle half-truths as well as the big lie. (more…)