Ministry can be a huge sacrifice – especially when it comes to paychecks, or the lack thereof.
Our early church planting years were also our baby years. Baby churches and baby babies, for us, translated to baby paychecks. I cried out to God so many times, “Why is this so hard?” More often than not, our account was overdrawn. The banks loved us. Never in my life had I seen so many $35 fees in such a measly account. We even lost our house in the recession. You can point your finger at us. You were irresponsible, you didn’t manage what God gave you, etc. You could also say, it was simply what God had for us at the time. We learned a lot through financial hardship. We learned not to judge others. We learned to be grateful. We learned to help others when they are in need. We also learned, there is a time and season for everything under the sun. I can’t remember the last time we got a $35 fee from a bank.
If you are in this time of stretching pennies, there are some things you can do.
1. Pray for your needs.
One time we literally prayed for meat. Guess what? That very Sunday (we prayed on Thursday and did not tell a soul about our prayer) a college student rolled up to us on his skateboard after the service and asked us, “Do you eat meat? My uncle and I caught a bunch of salmon and we have extra beef, and I thought of my pastor.” I cried, because it was such a beautiful blessing. I, of course, made him a batch of meatballs, and had a freezer filled with meat. Can you believe it? God hears our prayers and meets our needs. Every time. In different ways than we expect.
2. Use coupons and discounts.
I’m that pesky girl with the stack of coupons who gets groceries for about seventy percent off. No, it doesn’t mean I eat noodles for every meal. But, it does mean I have a cupboard filled with detergent, all kinds of soaps and toiletries, and a pantry that looks like a grocery store (most of the time you have to buy in bulk to get the good discount, and no, Cheerios don’t really go bad by the expiration date on the package). I never pay over three-something for twelve-packs of double-roll toilet paper. I often get paid one to five cents for buying pasta or salad dressing. I make my pennies count. You can, too, and if you want coaching on that, I love to talk about coupons! I think of my coupon-ing as a little part time job.
3. Find ways to make more money.
Take a job you can do at home. That’s the beauty of the internet. Ask your husband to be bi-vocational, or tri-vocational (then slow down your ministries as a result) if necessary. If he’s the one who can earn money, you can do more in other areas to take the burden from him. If he works multiple jobs, don’t expect him to do all the dishes and watch the kids all weekend, too. He needs some rest. Fund raise!
4. Keep your budget simple.
Don’t expect to go out to eat a lot (unless if it’s taco-Tuesday at Del Taco). Shop less. Stay home more. Be grateful for the roof over your head and the incredible family God has blessed you with. In America our homes, even one bedroom apartments, are mansions to people in other countries. Remember, this is only a season.
I’d like to end this post with a prayer for you.