Preaching about money is one of the most spiritual things I do.
—Wayne Pohl

I was sitting with a young couple interested in church membership. As I had planned, part of the conversation hinged on money. I explained our church's understanding of generosity and tithing, highlighting several Scriptures and sharing what a difference these principles had made in our church's life. I finished with, "I want you to know we're a tithing congregation. We welcome you to become a part of our church, but if tithing bothers you, you may be more comfortable elsewhere."

The husband replied, "Pastor, we attend church weekly, and we've always donated five dollars a week. My parents always gave five dollars a week. I really don't know how we could do what you're describing." He was in shock.

Nevertheless, they eventually joined our church, and by the time they moved away, they were contributing 13 percent of their income.

Preaching what Scripture says about money is volatile, revolutionary, risky business. "Money makes the world go round." It keeps dinner on the table and the wolf from the door. Money means comfort, power, security, status, opportunity, freedom, pleasure, choice. That is why Christ makes radical claims on our checkbooks. No other issue so clearly, objectively addresses the clash between this world's values and Christian values: "You cannot serve God and Mammon."

Preaching about money is thus one of the most spiritual things I do. It is one of the most practical ways I can help people grow in their faith. It is also a subject full of danger if not presented well. Here are some things I keep in mind as I touch on this vital topic.

Avoiding Misunderstandings

I enjoy preaching about money, though I admit, it is the tense joy a lion tamer ...