wise man once said, “When your outgo exceeds your income, it leads
to your downfall.” For many businesses and Christian
organizations, as well as families and individuals, this saying has
unfortunately become all too true.
number of years ago when I was in the position of “having more
month than money” I began to seek the Lord for how He wanted His
people to handle their finances.
the next few years I learned a great deal about God’s biblical
principles of financial management.
As I applied what I learned, the Lord showed me how to me how
I could climb out of the financial hole I had been in. He also led
me to begin to teach and counsel with others who were having similar
I joined the staff of a Christian organization.
I was given the responsibility of the ministry’s finances,
or I should say, lack thereof.
We had just come to the end of our peak income season and we
found ourselves owing approximately 70 different creditors tens of
thousands of dollars. We
only had a few dollars in the bank and several months before our
income would pick up again. The board of directors hoped that
the biblical principles I had taught to help get individuals out of
financial trouble could also be applied to an organization's
the coming months we discovered that the steps God uses to get an
individual out of financial trouble can also lead an organization to
climb out of the “debt pit”.
immediately made a new commitment to operate
only on a cash basis (or 30-day invoice basis if we KNEW the money
would be there). Within two years, we finished paying
off the tens of thousands of dollars of behind bills we started
the remainder of this article I will identify things that will lead
to financial trouble. I
will also highlights godly steps that can be taken to help someone
find God’s pathway to financial freedom.
that lead to the debt pit and indicators that you are in financial
Little or no daily time with the Lord in His Word
because of apparent time demands or ministry pressures.
No regular and systematic plan for giving or being
generous with what the Lord has given to you.
Ignorance of what the Scriptures really teach in
regards to our handling of finances and material possessions.
Loss of a major source of income.
Unusually high price increases for basic
necessities, such as, utilities, insurance, food.
Unexpected major expenses including back taxes,
lawsuits, major breakdowns, medical problems.
Hasty and/or impulsive purchases.
Expenditures made while a primary person or persons
weren’t yet in agreement with the decision to go ahead.
Charging things you know you don’t really have
the funds to cover.
No primary person who is responsible for and is
diligent in keeping track of your financial commitments and cash
flow (purchases, expenses, and income).
No plan for laying aside or separating out funds
that will be needed for coming obligations (insurances, taxes, loan
Using monies that were given or intended for one
thing for something else.
A number of people having the freedom to buy or
charge without first getting approval from the person who is to keep
tracking of the current and projected cash flow.
Confusion or disagreement on how financial
decisions are made.
Financial decisions made out of “how much do we
have in the checkbook?” instead of budget planning and realistic
A subtle and deceiving attitude whereby you have
more confidence in what credit can provide for you than what Christ
can provide for you.
Making “pleasure purchases” you really
couldn’t afford (i.e. - “I want, what I want, when I want it”
purchases that you made when you didn’t want to be confused with
the facts about your financial situation).
Too busy, or unwilling to personally pray (and/or
ask for the board and/or staff) to specifically pray about pending
needs and financial decisions.
Use of consolidation loans.
Charging or spending money for special projects or
purchases in the hopes of a special gift or source of income that
you are “hoping” will be coming soon.
Distracted times in the God’s word because of
thoughts about financial matters.
Avoiding or forgetting about faithfully giving a
portion of what the Lord has given you because of a shortage of
Creditor collection notices and calls because of
unpaid bills that are 30, 60, 90, 120 or more days old.
Having no one who is taking active responsibility
for developing and implementing a 12-month realistic multi-faceted
plan for raising gift income.
Frequent disagreements and arguments over money
matters and trying to blame others for the mess you are in.
Having to charge things because you don’t have
the available funds to pay the bill in cash.
Unexpected emergencies arise and there is no money
to meet the need.
Paying some angry creditor a chunk of money while
leaving a group of quieter creditors unpaid.
Projects started that are now left undone.
Thoughts that more money, from a big gift or a
consolidation loan, would solve your problems.
things that will only make matters worse
Additional charging, loans, consolidation loan(s),
bankruptcy, and/or lawsuits.
Ignoring creditor letters and calls.
Depression, denial, blame, anger, quitting,
Expansion plans or major purchases that will
require additional loans or charging because of a lack of funds.
Get-rich-quick schemes or additional part-time work
or income projects that you know in your heart will negatively
effect your relationship with God, spouse, family, ministry, or
normal work responsibilities.
steps God often uses to lead people, businesses and organizations to
The need for you to acknowledge afresh your
dependence upon Him and confess that you and others may have had
wrong attitudes and actions that have gone contrary to His ways.
Seeking out biblical teaching on financial matters.
A commitment to no more additional charging or
loans. If you don’t
charge or borrow anymore, you will begin to crawl out of the hole
that you are in.
Gaining godly counsel and/or help from the
authorities in your life to see you through to financial freedom.
Finding out exactly who you owe. Tally up all your creditors bills and loans.
Thoroughly study and analyze your financial records
to discover how, when and where your funds have been spent during
the last few years.
Develop a 3-6 month working budget.
This needs to be a “bare-bones-red-alert-no-frills-skeleton
monthly spending plan” that you will carefully follow and monitor.
Contact all creditors stating that there will be no
more charging whatsoever. Anything
you buy from this point forward will be paid for in cash. Inform them that you will begin a monthly payment program,
usually an equal percentage each month to each creditor, until your
old bill is completely paid off.
(Note: If you are purchasing everything in cash and being
faithful with a monthly payment, most creditors are willing to work
with you because they know that eventually you will pay them back).
Realize that you didn’t get into these troubles
overnight and that you won’t get out of them overnight.
On the average it will likely take 12-18 months before you
will be able to pay off all your current debts.
Develop and implement an improved and more diligent
budget and record budget keeping system that one primary person has
the responsibility to oversee.
Stop or table all non-crucial programs,
expenditures, or plans that don’t directly add to the primary work
or survival of your organization or family.
“Deaccumulate” or sell possessions and assets
that you no longer are using, that are beyond your ability to
maintain, and/or that can be sold to generate additional cash.
Have specific times of prayer when things look
impossible and you don’t see how you can make it though another
Give further attention and diligence given to
developing increased sources of ministry and legitimate income.
Whenever an apparent financial need surfaces, determine a
minimum of two, preferably three, price quotes and/or solutions on
how to solve this specific need.
Put together a realistic 12-month multi-faceted
fundraising plan that will be implemented and carefully monitored.
Include plans for a segmented mail appeal, getting designated
funding for key projects, and the development of Giving Club
programs where people can commit to giving various levels annually,
quarterly or monthly to your ministry.
Do NOT move ahead on any new financial expenditure
until the primary people involved are in agreement.
Send all creditors something every single month,
even if you can only give each one of them 1-5 percent of their
total bill. From my
experience, any creditor would rather get something from you, no
matter how small each month, than to not hear from you.
Develop a realistic annual, quarterly and monthly
working budget that you actually use, follow, and keep updated.
my hope that some of the things shared in this article will provide
some light at the end of the dark financial tunnel that some
people may find themselves in.
note: For individuals in need of financial guidance or godly
financial counsel, contact Larry Burkett’s nationwide ministry, Crown
Financial Ministries (1-800-722-1976 or www.crown.org).
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brian Kluth is a national and international speaker and writer
on Biblical generosity and financial matters.
He is also a church pastor and the founder of MAXIMUM Generosity, a public ministry dedicated to advancing Biblical generosity through inspirational preaching, leadership training seminars, writing, resources and the media. Brian’s written materials have been distributed to more than 350,000 Christian leaders in more than 100 countries .For additional materials or to contact Brian, email:
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit:
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