Pastor Study: Struggling with Finances? You’re Not Alone! (Part 2 of 3)

I shared the findings of a recent pastor survey that revealed some startling statistics on the state of the average minister’s personal finances. It turns out most of us are struggling to make ends meet.

If you aren’t confident about your financial situation, here are four time-tested and helpful tips that will help you reverse course:

#1  Have a $1,000 emergency fund set aside – Are you one unexpected bill away from a financial crisis? The first step is to begin to put aside enough money to create a margin for yourself.

Try to figure out how fast you can save up $1,000 as an emergency fund so that emergencies today are no longer emergencies tomorrow. It’s all about building your fund a little bit at a time. Then don’t stop there. Your long-term goal should be to save 3-6 months of living expenses. Continue to build on your emergency fund so you have room for unexpected things that will come up in the future.

#2  Have a plan to live debt free – There was a time early in my ministry when I was heavily in debt. I was challenged in that I was not making much and I did not have a plan to get out of debt. The Bible teaches that we should owe nothing to anyone except love. It teaches that the borrower is a slave to the lender. I began to realize that not only did I need to come to grips with this debt, I needed a plan to get out of it.

With help from Dave Ramsey and other resources, I wrote out a plan and I used the “snowball effect.” That means pay the minimums on your credit cards, but then pay down the smallest of your debts as quickly as possible. Then as soon as you have paid off that small debt, roll that up to your next smallest debt and begin to pay that down.

With the Lord’s blessing, I was able to get out of debt in 2 ½ years at a time when I was making less than I ever have and living in NYC! This is very doable for you to be debt-free.

Tune in next week for the remaining two financial tips.

Your partner in ministry,


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About Nelson Searcy

Nelson Searcy is an experienced church planter, coach and church growth strategist, working with churches in over 45 denominations. Nelson is also the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church, with locations across New York City and in San Francisco and Boca Raton, FL. He first developed the Assimilation System 10 years ago at the Journey Church and has since implemented and improved these strategies with over 3,000 churches across all sizes and denominations. He started coaching pastors in 2006 and has personally coached over 2100+ senior pastors, helping them break common growth barriers like 125, 250, 500, 1000 and beyond, all while maintaining personal life and ministry balance. As founder of Church Leader Insights and the Renegade Pastors Network, he has trained more than 50,000 church leaders (3,000+ church planters). He is the author of over 85 church growth resources and 17+ books, including Fusion: Turning First-Time Guests Into Fully-Engaged Members of Your Church and The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life and Ministry. His continued mission is to help church leaders around the world cooperate with God in creating healthy, thriving churches. Nelson is married to Kelley and together they have one son, Alexander.

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