SHARING OUR RESOURCES BRINGS FREEDOM AND UNLEASHES POWER!!!
I’m excited to FEEL how true this is once again after spending 90 minutes with my Circle of Hope partners last night at a Gifts for Growing event I organized with Jane and Scott Clinton. We had a simple plan: make a space where it was safe enough to ask question, and share resources about money and our relationship with it, and ask the Holy Spirit to make something good in that space. Guess what, it worked!
We were asking, “Is having and generating wealth okay?” Paul said in 1 Timothy 6:10, “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil,” but it often gets misquoted as “Money is the root of all evil.” And then we think we might get dirty if we use it wisely. Jesus does make it clear that wealth is a spiritual danger. And the love of money has certainly wreaked havoc on much of human history. Our goal last night was to simply shine a light on money and the power it has over us. We said, with John in 1 John 1:7, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” Our goal was to put money in the light so we could make sure it stays in it’s right place. It will only stay a tool and not make us its tool if we watch it together regularly.
Jane and Scott got us warmed up with stories about their financial upbringing and history. They were very transparent and engaging. Their heart for sharing has grown as their personal resources have increased. At one point not too long ago, Jane realized that if they increased their monthly sharing by about $30 they would be sharing more with their church community than they were paying on their mortgage. Jane loved that upside down comparison and made it happen.
This kind of transparency about money is not at all common. It requires a trust that is beyond human capacity. I saw the Holy Spirit moving in Scott and Jane. Two other people shared about how they had spent several months sharing all of their financial information with a group of people in the church — every dollar of income and every cent of expense –every bit of debt and every hope for the future. It was an astonishing feat of faith and trust. Sharing our resource really does bring freedom and unleash power! It also deepens faith and makes love grow in ways it never would as the world would have it.
We keep pushing money back into its place with conversations like this one, but the general consensus was that we need much more dialogue. Many were inspired to keep stoking the dialogue.
Financial resources forum at wayofjesus.circleofhope.net?
Here is one more concrete vision for what might come from our dialogue
Finances can be such a big and overwhelming topic. Let’s make a website with trusted resources so people can just click and go. Sometimes you just need a push like that, “Here’s a trusted resource, I’ll try that!”
Putting a financial question out there on one of our listservs might just seem too risky or embarrassing, or maybe too much work, so let’s make another forum for asking financial advice — a place on our Way of Jesus website dedicated to finances with a forum type component. Anybody want to be part of moderating such a dialogue?
Things we need:
- Making a Will (“I used so-and-so to help with my will”, “Everence has a credit to help pay for the cost of making a will”)
- List of trusted local banks/lenders
- How do mortgages work, where does the interest money go?, what banks might be best to bank with in order to keep more money in our local communities?)
- Who have our trusted partners used for Financial Planning?
- What kind of investing is most ethical? Who can I trust?
- Which locally owned and personally connected small businesses are we supporting, promoting, and encouraging?
- What kind of debt is good and what kind of debt is bad?
- How do you understand, build or repair your Credit Score?
What about Student Loans (for former students and for prospective students and parents) How might we be paying, consolidating and avoiding them (with more access and information about scholarships etc.)
Giving – Why share? Stories of blessing/benefits. And stories of receiving (How about a place to post stories of gratitude from the mutuality fund and other sources? Could be anonymous if you want.)
- Consultations on specific financial opportunities.
Does this excite you? Talk to Mark Mumbauer. I can help connect you. My email is [email protected].
Circle of Hope’s Proverbs
Here are Circle of Hope’s Proverbs which informed this dialogue. Each is a little poem in itself, and I’ll let you inpack them if you wish.
SHARING OUR RESOURCES BRINGS FREEDOM AND UNLEASHES POWER
- We share our resources of time, money and love person to person, with the leaders, between congregations.
- All our money belongs to God; the percentage we share in our Common Fund reflects our mutual commitment to be an authentic church.
- Minimally, members of our covenant share in our public meeting times, participate in a cell, express themselves in service and contribute to our Common Fund.
- As part of our obligation to mutually share resources with the poor and lost, we invest at least 20% of our Common Fund income in causes beyond our basic common needs.
- We live out our goals according to what we have, not what we should have. Don’t try to live off the holes in the Swiss cheese.
- We are called to owe nothing to anyone but love. We are determined not to be debt slaves and determined to share with abandon and fully participate in the imagination and responsibility of partnership in Christ.