By Fred Harris, pastor of First Baptist Church, Winslow –
When I attended January’s Momentum Conference at First Baptist Church in Chandler, it was because I had been sent by my church. I had previously heard about the “Money Management Conference,” but was about as enthusiastic to go to it as I would have been if I were sent to get a root canal. As a preacher, addressing money in the church is draining. Let me focus on the important task – teaching the Bible in such a way as to make disciples!
I went to Momentum. I repent.
Yes, Momentum elevates a 10-week focus on Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University to a church’s Sunday morning program. Yes, Momentum talks extensively about how to manage money and it would require me to preach 4-5 sermons on the topic, but it’s so much more. In the words of Ken Schafer, our conference speaker, “Stewardship is how we manage everything God has given us. … When we grow in stewardship, we’re actually growing in spiritual maturity. If we don’t grow in stewardship, it’s a roadblock to spiritual maturity. Therefore, good stewardship is absolutely essential to spiritual growth and discipleship.”
Privately, Keith Henry, Arizona Southern Baptist Convention church life team facilitator, was sure to add that Momentum isn’t a fundraising campaign. It makes stewardship a 10-week focus because it meets a crucial need of 80 percent of our church families, who feel like they can’t be faithful because of their bondage to debt.
What were Schafer and Henry trying to say? Money is not a side issue; it’s one of the most important components of discipleship! I’m going back to my church to see what we’re to do with what I’ve learned, but I appreciate the faithful gifts of Arizona Southern Baptist churches through the Cooperative Program for making Momentum available to those who wish to lead their congregations toward freedom and spiritual growth.