There have been times in the history of the church when the only time the topic of money and possessions was ever preached on was in the fall for the annual stewardship campaign. Usually for one of these messages the preacher would rightly talk about the biblical call for followers of Jesus to tithe and invite persons to fill out pledge cards. However, often it was a cal to tithe not to become a more fully devoted follower of Jesus, but so the church can pay the bills. Vision and ministry was rarely tied to calls for increased giving. Giving was more often than not tied to keeping the status quo and maintaining.
This was better than some though who were afraid to talk about money and possessions at all during preaching. These were afraid the church would be tagged with always being interested in money. So they abdicated teaching biblical principles about stewardship.
In my opinion, the best way to talk about money and possessions in the church is in a holistic way. What I mean is that the Bible has a lot to say about how we handle all that God has given us. Money, especially in our day, is a huge issue for followers of Jesus and those that are not. The Bible has a lot to say about how we would manage our resources- about budgeting, debt, saving and investing. The Bible has stuff to say about not being in bondage to debt (credit cards anybody!), about putting our trust in treasures where neither moth or rust destroy (accumulating possessions), or using God's resources to bless God's people. The Bible deals with every day issues about money that people are dealing with. This is true in all places but especially true in suburbia. Should we talk about tithing as part of a larger holistic approach to how we handle our resources? Absolutely! However, tithing and all else that we talk about should be connected to ministry within the church and God's vision for our lives and our church.
I would advocate for a yearly preaching emphasis about handling God's resources as well as teaching throughout the year that can be done in a variety of ways. I will share some ways to do that in a later post.