Pastor’s Financial Life: Part 1 of 5

For the last two months I’ve been preparing for Financial Peace, a new series we started on Sunday at The Journey. This preparation made me think about my own financial journey.

If you know some of my story (and I won’t repeat it here) then you know that in my teenage/pre-Christian years I made a lot of money writing computer programs and building a computer business. Basically, I earned more money than any 16 year old should be allowed to earn. I wasted quite a bit of it but also used some of it for good (to graduate college debt free and to start my first evangelism ministry after I became a Christian).

In 1990, shortly after I became a Christian, I learned the principle of tithing. I remember thinking, “This is great! God gives me salvation and all he asks from me, from a financial perspective, is 10%.” Sounded like a good deal! (Still does, although I’ve grown quite a bit in my understanding of what God expects.)

Over the next 11 years, through marriage, pastoring, moving and attending seminary, I racked up over $16,000 in credit card debt. This slide into the red began my journey toward becoming a student of biblical stewardship.

Now, I’m happy to say that I’ve been debt free since 2004 (see my P.S. for a free resource on this). And I’ve been living according to biblical stewardship principles at a higher level than ever before. I’m sure I have a long way to go, but I’ve learned a lot.

In fact, my up and down financial journey has led me to make four very strong commitments:

1- The commitment to be debt free for the rest of my life
2- The commitment to always give more than a tithe
3- The commitment to become an expert on biblical stewardship
4- The commitment to challenge others toward Godly stewardship

Let me challenge you to make these four commitments, too! I’ll be going into more detail on each one for the rest of the week…


P.S. In 2006, after being debt free for a couple of years, I recorded a resource where I challenged my fellow pastors to also become debt free. It’s called Debt Free Pastor. I would like to send you a free copy – just send an email to with the subject line “Debt Free Pastor” and we’ll send you a free download.

Share This Post

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.

Nelson SearcyStewardship

tagged with: ,,,,,,