Several years ago a church found a dynamic youth minister they wanted to hire. However, that minister had school and housing debt which had financially strapped him. He wanted to move to his new location with his family, but he couldn’t afford a deposit on a house and he didn’t want to move to an apartment.
Then a member of the search committee stepped in. He’s not wealthy but he did have the financial leverage to help: he bought the house the youth minister and his wife were looking at and then let the minister live there on a rent-to-own agreement. Only a handful of people even knew about the arrangement, which allowed the new minister to have his privacy and dignity.
There are several lessons in this:
- If you are a minister, please get out of debt as soon as possible. You should have, at most, housing and car debt. Pay off your school loans, credit card debt, and other debt/loans as quickly as possible. Actually, this is true for everyone, not just ministers.
- Churches should help young seminarians with as many scholarships as possible. They’ve committed to serve the church, and everyone knows that ministry positions don’t typically have high pay scales. Churches can establish scholarship funds and endowment funds to help people, especially 20-somethings, go to seminary with fewer financial worries.
- Establish financial practices in your own life which will allow you to take advantage of opportunities to help others and yourself when those times arise. If this committee member had poor financial habits, he couldn’t have helped the youth minister; but because he managed his money well for years, he could step in. Do the same in your own financial house so that you can be generous when the opportunity arises (when God puts those times right in front of you!).