Is it me or is anyone else noticing how often personal financial management is in the media these days? From newspaper articles to television shows, there is a lot of space and time being dedicated to personal finances. It’s not just the church that is concerned about how people are spending their money, the level of debt families have and the lack of savings.
So why shouls we pay attention? Why should we be involved? Personal financial mismanagement has far reaching implications. Families are being impacted. The number one reason couples cite for divorce is money. People are working longer hours but getting farther and farther in debt. People have less time to devote to their families, their friends, their church, and God. The way our society views and handles money is the opposite of what God intended.
- 50% of all Canadians have less than $2,500 in savings (Source: Statistics Canada)
- Canadian Household debt reached $1.3 trillion (Certified General Accountants Association of Canada Survey 2008)
- The Canadian Debt-to-Income Ratio in 2009 stands at 145% – that means for every $100 of disposable income that comes into the home – we are spending $145
- 90 million credits cards in circulation in Canada (2009)
- Total credit card debt in Canada stands at $78 billion – $2,300 for every, man, woman and child in Canada
- Canadians are turning to gambling – in 2008 review from gambling was up 407% from 1992 (Source: Statistics Canada)
- Couples divorcing cite finances as the number one reason for their marital problems
- Only 3% of Christians tithe 10% or more of their income (Source: Barna Research)
- The average Christian gives 2.5% of their income to God’s work and pays almost 10% to debt interest (Source: Barna Research)
- 37% of regular church attendees give nothing (Source: Barna Research)
- 95% of Christian educational institutions (colleges, universities, seminaries and Bible colleges) offer no personal or ministry financial curriculum. (Source: Lilly Foundation Studies)
- 90% of denominations offer no available (or limited) financial teaching resources to their pastors or churches. (Source: CSA research)
- 85% of pastors feel unequipped and uncomfortable teaching on finances and giving. (Source: Lilly Foundation Studies)
- 90% of churches have no active plan for teaching Biblical financial principles. (Source: CSA research)
For pastors and lay leaders to effectively teach stewardship we must know it, understand it, live it, model it. We need to ensure that we manage our churches according to biblical principles. This problem will not fix itself, nor is it easily changed. Fundamentally it is a spiritual issue and we need to start treating it like one. Only then will we be able to attack the cause rather than just the symptoms.