What is my relationship with money?

For leaders to be free to lead, they have to be working on their own issues—so their issues aren’t working on them. What are the family and cultural scripts that shape your beliefs and habits about earning and spending?  What is your operational theology of money? What are your “go to” scriptures and what might you be leaving out?  How do your beliefs and feelings impact your daily life, your family, your faith and your ministry? Along the way, we will consider alternative perspectives that may help you reshape your assumptions, understand where you are hitting blocks, and re-value the place of money in your life.

Resources include your own Money Autobiography, The Soul of Money by Lynn Twist; a workshop delving into generational issues about money, giving and organizational life led by Rec. Dr. Karl Travis, First Presbyterian Church, Ft. Worth, Texas; and practices for theological reflection and personal priority-making.

What is my practical theology?

As leaders see into their own personal relationships with money, they can turn to questions about their roles as leaders about money—and the matter of possessions—in the congregations they serve.

Scripture is very clear about what we should not do: cheat, envy, idolize, become wealthy on the back of the poor. Scripture is also clear about what we should do: share. Scripture is not so clear, however, on the ways in which we should share. We must discern our way through the hard questions of how much is enough and how should we exercise generosity. Leaders need a strong ground of theology from which to lead. We will bring Scripture and theology to bear on our own relationships with possessions as well as the attachments and assumptions of our congregations.

Resources include a workshop with Dr. David Jenson, Professor of Theology at Austin Seminary and Dr. Scott Bader-Saye, Dean of the Seminary of the Southwest; Way to Live: Christian Practices for Teens, edited by Dorothy Bass and Don Richter; What Matters? Economics for a Renewed Commonwealth by Wendell Berry; The Story of Stuff; and Merchants of Cool.

How am I called to respond?

Leaders for the emerging future need robust pastoral imaginations, not only for our own lives and the lives of our congregations, but also for authentic Christian witness in public life. We believe that nowhere is this more true than in the use of money and our practices with possessions. Might freedom from oppressive financial situations become an important part of congregational life? How might we use money itself as a practice of mission? Where have we come on this journey in our visions for money?

Resources include a workshop with Dr. Joy Anderson, Executive Director, Criterion Institute; select readings; a panel of Christian philanthropists; Inequality for All; and personal and theological reflections.