Friday, 23 January 2009

Leading in a Time of Financial Crisis 1

In the face of what is being called ‘economic meltdown’, what should the church be saying?

I recently heard Gordon McDonald make the comment to a group of leaders that not many of us have lived through extremely tough times. He was reflecting on his experience as a young boy growing up during the Depression and it was a sobering message – definitely more Jeremiah ‘gloom and doom’ than Jeremiah, the prophet of hope. We are heading into a deep recession; the economic pundits tell us that the worse is yet to come, so
how do we prepare our people in the light of these developments?

In considering this question, I have found using the following framework helpful – to cover prophetic, pastoral and practical elements.

Prophetic Voice

It has been clear for many years that the god of this nation, and of many nations, is Mammon. (Luke 16:13 - You cannot serve both God and money). Man’s greed and the security he has sought in financial gain have resulted in nations turning away from God. Trusting in the acquisition of property, shares, pensions, and in the dream that ‘if I own more I will be happy’ has created a ‘more’ monster in all of us. While I don’t argue for asceticism (these items are not evil in themselves), love of them has led us astray.

In the last few months we have seen events in the financial news that have not been seen in recent history, comments from leading financial communicators describing once in a century events that our parents and grandparents worked hard to ensure that they would not see again. Could it be that God is shaking the nations, who have placed their trust in money? I believe so - in fact, through these times He could be answering our prayers to turn a nation to His ways. We are now provided with a great opportunity to express our faith in a God who provides, whatever our circumstances.