By: Elizabeth York, Media Writer & Digital Editor, Houston Baptist University
Texas Baptists offered pastors and their church members the opportunity to be refreshed and reminded of biblical stewardship, including personal and church budgeting. The first of five “Giving Your Money Purpose” day retreats in 2018 was held on Saturday, April 21, at Houston Baptist University.
The one-day events are an outreach of the Center for Ministerial Excellence, meant to encourage pastors and provide strategies to allay the financial pressures which pastors and their families often experience. The initiative is made possible by the Lilly Endowment, which aims to improve the financial literacy and management skills of pastoral leaders, as well as help develop and strengthen each pastor’s ability to provide fiscal leadership.
As a consequence, the educational program is intended to ultimately bolster church members’ knowledge of scriptural giving principles. Tammy Tijerina,CME director, said that many church pastors don’t have adequate pay, as well as benefits like insurance and retirement plans.
“We’re trying to remind people to not neglect pastors and their families. We want them to be financially supported,” she said. “It’s God’s plan that the pastors, shepherds, are provided for. Pastors across the nation are facing economic challenges. We are saying, ‘We hear you. Let’s work together so that Baptist churches are there in the future.’”
Co-presenters of the workshop were Dr. Ward Hayes, senior pastor of Valley Grove Baptist Church in Stephenville, and Larry Post, CPA, a deacon of Sugar Land Baptist Church. When it comes to financial needs in the church, the topic is of great significance, Hayes said. “It’s not just about managing funds, but about giving them purpose and making them a strength,” he said.
Hayes and Post covered stewardship topics including tithing, saving, Sabbath rest, budgeting, and formulating individual and church resources plans.
“There is disparate financial information out there,” Post said. “We are presenting it from a biblical perspective. There is a biblical basis and God has a plan.”
Joe Theus, pastor of Canaan Missionary First Baptist Church in San Antonio, traveled to the event with his wife and the church clerk.
“We came to refocus and get back to the basic principles of church stewardship and discipleship. We want to align ourselves biblically,” he said. “For me, it’s confirmation that we’re going in the right direction.”
Dustin Payne, pastor of Forum Church in Spring, came with Elder Jim Parker. “I’m reminded that our finances are a discipline,” Payne said. “We have to be intentional about what God gives us.” Parker added, “I know this stuff, but it’s helpful to have the interaction and to plant those seeds (of truth) again.”
Pastor’s wife and church secretary Angela McBride said of the presentation and discussion, “They’re principles that we’ve learned that are being reinforced; it’s good.”
Her husband, Pastor Rickey McBride, said he would use the concepts in his teaching and preaching at New Beginnings in Christ in northeast Houston.
Worship leader of Korean First Baptist Church of Pasadena Timothy Jeong said the teaching was beneficial for “applying the knowledge of the Bible to the real world.”
Graceland Community Church Pastor Rivers Glover said that his Missouri City congregation will benefit from the material. “It’s something that our church needs retraining on – the things that God has made us accountable for,” he said. “I think the main thing I’ve gotten out of it is, wherever you are, be all there. Give God all.”
Theus summed up the mission of the event well: “If you help the pastor, you’re going to help the church,” he said.
Additional “Giving your money purpose” Retreats are planned for the Dallas Area on May 5; Plainview on May 19; San Antonio Area on June 2; and the El Paso Area, September 8. The retreats are available at no cost and require registration.