Dan Hotchkiss has packed theology, historical background and many practical helps about clergy pay, church budgets and stewardship into a small volume. The author clearly understands the dilemmas of religious leaders who strive for biblical fidelity in this materialistic age.
Hotchkiss describes well the pain of a minister who has chosen not to ask for a raise, out of a personal sense of responsibility, to balance the congregation’s budget. He also describes well the annual discussion where lay leaders debate the merits of a 3 or 4 percent raise for their underpaid ministers.
The author’s descriptions of these scenes reveal both a pastor’s heart and the keen insight of a student of contemporary culture. His observation that the tax savings of a minister’s housing allowance will never compensate for the envy it creates rings true in the heart of any minister who has had to explain the matter to a group of lay leaders.
Hotchkiss conveys the message of Ministry and Money by succinctly tracking the development of the schism between money matters and spiritual life in American Christianity. He then analyzes the resulting effects on ordained clergy who are either uncomfortable with, or not fully competent in, leading congregational finances.
Included along the way are many easily enacted methods for better personal finances among the clergy, and for leading a congregation through the maze of budgets and stewardship campaigns.
Ministers who bear the responsibility of leading congregational finances will want to read Ministry and Money for its wisdom and its practicality. Lay leaders will want to read it in order to gain a new perspective on the minister’s life and task.
In both cases, the work of the kingdom will benefit.
Joel Snider is pastor of First Baptist Church in Rome, Ga.
Order this book from the Alban Institute.
Joel Snider is a coach for the Center for Healthy Churches.