Money is one of the biggest stressors in our lives. We fret about our debt. We worry about paying bills on time. And we’re preoccupied about what we’ll find when we open the monthly bank statement. Money can be immensely stressful.
Art Rainer wants to help. In The Money Challenge (B&H Publishing Group, 2017), Rainer takes you on a journey to financial health. But it is not simply for the sake of financial health. The Money Challenge was written to help you experience God’s design for you and your finances.
Rainer is the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He holds a Doctor of Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University and an MBA from the University of Kentucky. He was kind enough to answer a few questions about The Money Challenge, financial stress, ministry and more.
Why did you decide to write a book about money?
In general, Americans are experiencing significant financial stress. Consumer debt levels are at an all-time high, while savings are horribly low. The fallout hurts families, marriages, ministries and our ability to live generously. And those in the church are not immune to the financial stress and devastation. The way we view and handle our money is hurting us.
God designed us for more. Our money was designed for more. God designed us not to be hoarders but conduits through which His generosity flows. Whether you find yourself financially stressed because of past decisions or situations beyond your control, The Money Challenge was written to help you understand and chase God’s joyful, contentment-filled, generous design for how we handle our money.
God designed us not to be hoarders but conduits through which His generosity flows.
What are the most common pitfalls Christians experience when thinking about or dealing with money?
The greatest mistake we are making relates to our financial priorities. For most, generosity is what happens after all the bills are paid and the wants are met. Generosity is about the leftovers. The Bible flips this idea on its head. Generosity is our first priority. We give generously, save wisely and then live appropriately.
Having said that, The Money Challenge identifies four common “Generosity Killers” and how to overcome them. These “Generosity Killers” are keeping up with the Joneses, debt, disorganization and a financially separate marriage. Overcoming these generosity killers will go a long way to helping anyone live generously.
How can pastors help shepherd their church members to use their money to God’s glory?
First, talk about it. There are over 2,000 Bible verses related to stewardship and money. Emphasize the importance of stewardship because God emphasized the importance of stewardship. Next, lead by example. Pastors have great influence over their congregation. Pastors who give generously, save wisely and live appropriately are going to encourage their members to do the same.
The Money Challenge is a great tool for pastors as they lead the people in their church to be a people marked by generosity. To make it affordable for small groups, premarital counseling, or special emphases, pastors are able to get a box of 20 books for just $100.
I hope The Money Challenge will be a blessing to pastors and their church members as we experience what it is like to live and manage our money in way that aligns with God’s design for us.
“The Money Challenge by Art Rainer is an excellent book on how to be financially responsible. The 3-fold challenge to give generously, save wisely and live appropriately is mapped out in clear, practical and obtainable steps. God designed us to be generous and wise with our resources. This short and easy to read work will help you get there. I am delighted to commend it to you.”
– Danny Akin, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary