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Stewardship Epiphany Boosts Personal Financial Management

Working with a financial coach gave Pastor Andrew Miller the confidence to help others make sense of money matters.

Pastor Andrew Miller
St. Luke Lutheran Church
Taylorsville, North Carolina
November 2016

“Think about it, Andrew,” I remember writing. “It’s all God’s! Into our hands he has entrusted pieces of his creation for our benefit, care, and sharing, with a calling to steward them with care. What an awesome gift and opportunity.”

These were my notes from my first day taking a Financial Peace University (FPU) class at my parish years ago. This multi-week class, directed by Dave Ramsey, opened my eyes to a new and empowering viewpoint on stewardship. I discovered that stewardship wasn’t some painful and compulsive obligation of discipleship. It was an opportunity to act faithfully, in joyful response to the gifts God placed into my life for the good of his creation. My epiphany fueled my desire to grow more knowledgeable in the areas of personal financial stewardship.

This experience led my wife, Jennifer, and me to assess how we were living out our calling to be managers of God’s resources within our care. Like many of my fellow pastors, we had a fair amount of seminary student loan debt, car loans, a mortgage, and relatively little savings. What we most felt was financially disorganized. With our new perspective, we enlisted the help and guidance of a financial coach. Our coach led us to the faithful discipline of careful budgeting. We also set some goals: build savings, eliminate debt, create a consistent and forward-thinking financial plan, and live generously. This endeavor has been so empowering and confidence-building.

Too often, we as clergy want to be generous, but we wrestle with low income, high debt, and uncertainty about important areas like health insurance, paying for college for our children, and if and how we will one day get to retire. I encourage church leaders to embrace the stewardship resources available to them, such as FPU and financial education opportunities at Portico. The more we know, the more powerfully we can manage and serve.

During my recent sabbatical, I became trained as a financial coach so I can encourage others to gain the knowledge and confidence that will help them be good stewards. I also started a blog, ClergyFriend.org to invite and share stewardship insights and perspectives with the larger clergy community.

It took God opening my eyes to acknowledge that everything is God’s and God will provide what we need. What an awesome responsibility and opportunity it is to respond to and embrace the calling of faithful stewardship.

This submission describes a personal perspective and may or may not reflect the experience of others.

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