“If you want to know what someone’s priorities are, look at their calendar and their checkbook.” Today it might be a person’s mobile banking transactions and Google calendar, but the principle still applies. The way we use our money and our time reveals our priorities. If I say providing healthy food for my family is important and my grocery receipt shows more from the ice cream cooler than the produce department, something ain’t right. If I say I value investing in my family’s faith, but only fill our calendar with hobbies, school, and sports, something is off.
If this principle is true for individuals, could it also be true for a church? Does how a church spend money tell us something about what is important to that church? Does the church calendar reflect what is a priority for the church? I think it does.
If someone were to give our calendar and spending a good once-over, would it reveal what we want it to? Would they discover we are truly investing in what we value or that we are drifting away from what is important? What can we do to make sure we are on a mission with our time and money?
That’s a good question. Before we can answer it, we have to know what we value, what is important, specifically, what is our mission. For more than two decades, the mission statement of firstChristian has been: “Turning all people into fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.” I’ve adopted another way to say this based on the mission Jesus gave to his closest followers found in Matthew 28.
Our mission is to Make, Mature and Multiply Disciples. That’s it.
Every activity and every dollar should help us to make followers of Jesus, mature followers of Jesus and help followers of Jesus make followers of Jesus. Everything.
As we build our calendar and our budget for the coming year, this will be our number one filter. Like in a home, there will be operational expenses like keeping the lights on, caring for the lawn and providing a building. But when it comes to programs, events, training and tools, we will budget money and schedule dates for the things that help us make, mature and multiply followers of Jesus.
I think overall, we are doing a good job of investing in the mission. Still, there is always the potential of drifting away from what is important, what we value. That’s why we take our budget and calendar seriously and will continue to use them to intentionally drive toward the disciple-making mission.
This isn’t easy. It means that as times change, tools change. It means that my preferences aren’t the priority. It means connecting people to Jesus is more important than my comfort. It means that we pursue the one and encourage the 99 to take care of each other. It means sacrifice. But that’s OK because Jesus is worth more than ice cream and hobbies.
Onward and Upward,