And those are just questions of lifestyle. What about how money colors my leadership?
Am I afraid to speak hard truth because the givers might leave? I've seen it happen too many times: church leadership becomes hesitant to go this way or that, speak this thing or that, because of how the "heavy hitters" might respond. Are my husband and I tempted to acquiesce if we ever sense this pressure?
Or do I lead differently because in the back of my mind, I know this organization pays our salary and therefore our family's bills? On the flip side, do I experience or express entitlement regarding salary and benefits, believing that the church "owes" us something? What if money weren't an issue and we were financially independent from the church? How might we lead or speak differently?
I'll admit that I have many more questions than answers. My husband and I continue to pray for wisdom and direction in these areas, learning as we grow. We have chosen a smaller, simpler house and fewer possessions. Sometimes we decline opportunities for ourselves and for our children in order to give that money to other needs. We have learned to redefine needs and to distinguish between true needs and personal wants. And I dream that our family will one day be financially independent of our church, or in a position that we can "reverse tithe," giving back to the churches that have given so much to us over the years.
Those are decisions and dreams for our family; they are descriptive, not prescriptive. I know that my answers will be different from those of anyone else. But I believe that each ministry leader, couple, and family must at least wrestle with these questions. Money complicates ministry. How does your own relationship with money hinder or further your ministry?
Angie Ward is a leadership writer, teacher, coach, and consultant with 25 years of ministry experience. She blogs at Leadership Connections and teaches at a number of Christian colleges and seminaries. Angie and her husband, Dave, a pastor, live outside Indianapolis with their two delightful sons and one adorable beagle.