Does your church operate from a mindset of abundance or scarcity? I was speaking to a woman the other day who told me their church has had some financial struggles as a result of our national economy. Like many churches, they keep looking for places to cut expenses to match their declining revenue. She said some people in the congregation believe the church will not survive 2012. I frequently hear this from smaller churches, especially when I'm helping them find a pastor. "We're just a small church. All our people are on fixed income. We just don't have any money." Every time I hear these kinds of comments I know these people are operating out of a mindset of scarcity, and as long as people continue to think like this they will continue to struggle financially.
Contrast this to congregations that have a mindset of abundance. While they are realists, they also know that all of God's resources are available for them to use for His purposes. When I challenged our congregation of 50 people to build a $250,000 fellowship addition and to do it without borrowing money, some thought I was nuts. But they did it. When a few wanted us to cut back on our denominational mission support during this building project they weren't happy when I refused to make our missionaries build us a new building. During the project we continued our mission giving at the same level as before, and the year the building was completed we not only had built it without borrowing money, we gave the most we had ever given to missions. That year our small congregation gave over $14,000 to our denominational mission work.
I recently heard of an association of churches that raised funds to assist a pastor who had some major medical expenses. Every church in this association is small and served by bivocational pastors. In one evening they received a special offering for this pastor and raised over $6,000. These churches have an abundance mindset and they are not afraid to dig deep to minister to someone who needs assistance. They understand that God is ministering to this pastor through them and they will be generous because they believe in the abundance of God's resources.
Financial mindsets are self-fulfilling prophecies. If you begin with the mindset of scarcity you will find you have few resources to work with. If you have a mindset that believes in the abundance of God's resources, you will find that those resources will come your way when they are needed to do God's work. These mindsets often come from the leaders. I've seen churches that had a scarcity mindset change when they had a pastor come in that believed in the abundance of God's resources. It always took time for that mindset to change, but it did change. At the same time, I've seen churches that had a mindset of abundance also change to one of scarcity when they got a pastor who lacked faith in the availablity of God's resources.
Pastors, if you have been operating out of a mindset of scarcity it's time to raise your sights. You are a stumbling block to your church limiting their effectiveness as a congregation. It's time you re-read the Scriptures that address the abundant resources of God and their availability to His people when they are attempting to do His work. It's time to challenge yourself and the congregation you serve to look beyond their own limitations to the abundance that is God's. It might take time, but if you can move to a mindset of abundance you will find that you will be able to do far more ministry than you've previously imagined.