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The Time I Heard a Curse Word in Church

I was scheduled to speak on a Sunday night for a new church client, and as is customary for me I attended their morning worship service to get a better idea of their culture. Church members were greeting me, the campaign chair introduced me to new people in the church, and the worship leader told me the worship schedule and when I would be introduced to the church. There was to be a video for an upcoming children’s activity and then the gentleman doing the announcements would ask me to stand up and be recognized. I was prepared and sat down on a pew next to the chairman and his family. That’s when it got interesting.

The opening video was a clip from the great movie “Back to the Future”. The scene is Doc Brown showing up in the DeLorean, strapping his dog Einstein into the car, and preparing to show Marty how his time machine operated.  On the big screens at the front of the sanctuary the video showed Doc Brown using the remote control to get the car in position, revving up the engine, and saying, “My calculations are correct, when this baby hits eighty-eight miles per hour, your gonna see some serious (stuff).”

Please understand this is my first time worshipping at this church, and I’m wondering if I heard what I think I just heard. The gasps, giggles, and awkward aura of the church confirm I did. The video cut off abruptly, and the poor woman who was in charge of the children’s activity rushed to the stage to apologize profusely. Apparently they had prepared a clip that was edited, but there was a mix up with the sound crew, and the wrong one played. I talked with the woman later that night and she told me she cried a good bit that day, and her first concern was that the consultant (me) had been there to experience it. If only she had known that all I could think in the immediate aftermath was, “I can’t wait to tell my wife about this.” I’m guessing in that church 50% weren’t listening to the video, 30% couldn’t hear it, 15% were trying not to laugh, and 5% were actually upset.

Mistakes happen, and we all moved on and had a great worship service. Later that afternoon as I had time to think about the experience, it occurred to me that for many church members, talking about money and giving is actually worse than dropping a four letter word. In the same church after I asked twelve questions on a survey with two pertaining to money, someone made the comment that all I wanted to talk about was money. People hear what they want to hear, and most don’t think it’s appropriate to talk about money.

Conversations about money happen daily in my life. My wife and I make sure we communicate clearly about the finances of our household and our priorities with money. My buddies and I commiserate about how expensive diapers can be, or how we’d really like that new phone if we could scrounge up the money. And no one can turn on the tv without hearing about the price of gas or the state of the stock market. Yet we don’t allow such talk in the church?

Jesus talked about money more than any other subject, and the Bible addresses it over and over again. God knew how money could take over our lives and keep us from a close relationship with Him, so He gave us guidance. The fact is God can give us better advice than any financial planner on how to steward what He has given us.

Don’t let money become a bad word in your church. It’s ok to have conversations about it, and study what God has to say for believers. It’s ok to discuss giving in your small group, and wrestle with how it impacts our lives. Money is something that can be a big issue in our lives, and the church is the perfect place to talk about its importance.


Nathan Ealy

Nathan spent eight years as a sports radio and television broadcaster before feeling God¹s leading towards serving churches in the area of generosity and giving, just as his father does. Nathan is in his fifth year as a Generosity Strategist, helping churches grow their generosity culture and raise money for ministry projects. Nathan and his wife Laura have two girls under the age of three, Evelyn and Charley Kate.

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