David S. Bell
Senior Design Partner
Personal Spending Plans
Written By David S. Bell
A personal spending plan is a fundamental tool that enables individuals to control money; rather than be controlled by it! A spending plan further enables people to help reach their financial goals and live out their values and priorities. Less than half of most families have adopted a personal spending plan or “family budget.”
As a result, many families are uncertain about their own personal spending habits. They simply know that funds are diminished by the end of the pay period. In fact, all too often the paycheck is spent long before more income arrives. This habit leads to increased consumer debt and family dysfunction. More and more Americans are driven by the pretense of obtaining ultimate contentment, joy, and peace through purchasing power and the acquisition of the next popular consumer fad. In contrast to this cultural pull, biblical teaching calls us to establish giving as our first financial priority – not funding our hyperconsumer-driven lifestyle.
Stewardship of financial resources lies at the heart of Christian discipleship. The failure of the church to articulate a biblical perspective on money and possessions yields to the seductive messages of rampant hyperconsumerism in our culture. The failure to address the topic of money and consumerism is an act of self-marginalization by the church. Many churches only address the issue of money during an annual financial campaign. The end result of this practice is the congregational perception that church leaders ask for money only to sustain the church budget. This perception undercuts biblical stewardship and often creates an attitude of scarcity.
The Good $ense Ministry resources can be utilized to teach, train, support and encourage your congregation in the core value of biblical stewardship. The resources can be used as their own ministry system or in conjunction with other stewardship resources.
Good $ense Ministry resources benefit the local church and its members in a variety of ways:
· They support the pastor and staff in what is often felt to be a difficult ministry area
· They assist individuals in removing money as a barrier to full devotion to Christ
· They lead individuals into God-honoring management of their resources and a resultant joy, peace, contentment and freedom that brings
· They free individuals from the bondage of consumer debt
· They restore relationships torn by conflict over money
· They create a stewardship culture of generosity that assures the resources necessary for the church to reach its redemptive potential
As you plan for effective year-round stewardship, consider offering a Good $ense Ministry Budget Course. The course contrasts the cultural messages of money with the biblical teaching about money. Five major areas of money are addressed: earning, giving, saving, debt, and spending. Now is an excellent time to begin planning for this course. Often people are more motivated to participate in a workshop on personal spending plans during January and February because of experiencing the financial implications of holiday shopping.