MCALLEN—Speakers at the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas annual meeting urged churches to take necessary steps to plan ahead financially in order to have fewer ministry limitations.
Financial adviser Andres Gutierrez taught principles of budgeting, emphasizing the importance of not getting in debt and controlling expenses.
As individuals and churches grow in financial maturity, they find peace and liberation from the anxiety brought by fiscal constraints, Gutierrez said.
Plan for emergencies
According to Scripture, the wise store up and plan ahead for unexpected emergencies, he noted.
“Life will surprise you,” Gutierrez said. “Whether you are Christian or not, life will be hard sometimes.”
Limiting oneself by resisting impulse buying—purchasing things that bring comfort, pleasure or distraction—can be the greatest challenge, he said.
“We all crave something, but the lie is we tell ourselves we have to get it,” Gutierrez said.
Good stewards plan what will happen to the resources they receive even before they have them, he said.
God is not limited by the good or bad stewardship of his people. God moves and acts with or without offerings and tithes, Gutierrez said.
However, good stewards honor God when they think before they act and live abundantly with the resources God gives, he explained.
Reject a theology of scarcity
Convención President Rolando Aguirre interviewed Gutierrez, along with Convención Executive Director Jesse Rincones, and Julio Guarneri, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in McAllen.
Rincones said a theology of scarcity not only limits what churches can do, but also contradicts what the Bible teaches.
“Jesus says, ‘I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance,’” Rincones said.
So, Christians are responsible to live in abundance, he added. However, he made it a point to distinguish abundant living from the so-called “prosperity gospel,” which also contradicts biblical teaching.
Churches need to help their members by offering tools that enable them to grow in financial discipleship, Guarneri said.
“Saving and spending money is a spiritual act. So, churches have to instruct families how they can do that,” he said.
Financial discipleship requires a change in thinking and practice, Rincones said. He urged congregations to present programs and teach lessons. He encouraged pastors to preach more than a couple of sermons throughout the year on how churches can serve as examples of financial maturity and stewardship.
“This all has to first come from church leaders,” Gutierrez said. “Only then churches will see a change.”