Have you bought groceries lately?
Have you recently ventured into a home renovation project or had to replace a vehicle?
If so, you’ve likely bumped into the impact of the rise in inflation.
From what I’ve read, inflation is hovering between 6-10% right now.
That means families are currently able to afford about 6-10% less than they were a few months ago.
At our church, we’ve been wrestling with this question: As a church, how should we respond to inflation?
I don’t have all the answers on this topic, but I do have some thoughts which might spur a helpful conversation with your team.
Here are four suggestions for how your church might want to respond to the impact of inflation.
Inflation leads to difficult decisions.
What should you do when you can’t afford to do everything you want or need?
What should you do when there isn’t money for the spring break trip, the car repair, or even the groceries?
The sad truth is, some of us are often inclined to make unwise decisions in financial shortage. Put it on the credit card…
Because inflation drives up the prices of gas, food, and many other necessary commodities, people need the guidance and challenge of Scriptural wisdom regarding money.
What a great time to talk about contentment, debt, giving, and gratitude.
Perhaps a preaching series on finances would be wise right now?
This also might be one of the more strategic times to offer financial classes like Financial Peace University or Crown.
In January our church will begin the process of putting together our annual budget.
I’m feeling a little intimidated by the process this year.
Why? With inflation on the rise, I believe it will be prudent to anticipate congregational giving could be down.
People who are feeling the financial crunch could be less inclined to be generous or simply may not be able to give as much as they have in the past.
In addition, we know our 2022 budget will need to reflect the rising prices of paper, gas, electronics, etc.
With that, I would argue this year’s budget process will require extra careful thought and planning.
Cost of Living
One of the obvious challenges of inflation is that people can no longer afford what they were able to previously.
For example, Medicare premiums are projected to rise by 5% in 2022. That is a massive and unheard-of increase.
I would encourage you to consider how the rising cost of living may impact your church staff this year as you plan for salary increases.
This could be tough to hear if your church is already struggling financially.
However, this could be one of the more important investments you make in the health of your church.
Financial stress at home will impact the quality of work your staff brings to their jobs.
Also, a significant cost of living increase during this season would send a strong message to your staff. We see you. We care about you. We value you.
Every crisis brings opportunity.
During the financial stress people are experiencing, there is an opportunity to provide care, resources, training, and most importantly…Jesus.
With the rise in inflation comes an opportunity to improve our systems and processes around benevolence and care.
This will ensure people coming to our churches for help experience wonderful hospitality and excellent counsel, whether they are church members or disconnected people from the community.
Every benevolence opportunity is a Gospel opportunity. Every benevolence opportunity is a discipleship opportunity.
This challenging season of inflation and financial shortage could be a fruitful season of ministry for our churches if we focus on providing excellent benevolence and care, and engage the people we serve with Gospel and discipleship opportunities.
Aaron Buer on December 9, 2021