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.

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About Nelson Searcy

Nelson Searcy is an experienced church growth strategist, pastor, church planter and coach, consulting with churches around the world. As founder of Church Leader Insights and the Renegade Pastors Network, he has personally trained more than 3,500 church leaders in over 45 denominations through live events, seminars and monthly coaching. Nelson is also the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church, with locations across New York City and in Boca Raton, FL. Nelson and his church routinely appear on lists such as “The 50 Most Influential Churches” and “The 25 Most Innovative Leaders.” He is the author of over 100 church growth resources and 18+ books, including The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life, Ministry and The Difference Maker: Using Your Everyday Life for Eternal Impact, and At the Cross with the People Who Were There. He and his wife, Kelley, have one son, Alexander.

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