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Why You Should Avoid Getting Financial Advice From Your Kenyan Pastor

In the realm of personal finance, seeking advice from trusted sources is paramount. However, a cautionary tale emerges regarding the wisdom of heeding financial counsel from Kenyan churches and any pastor, whose motivations may not always align with the best interests of their congregants.

It’s not once or twice that we have heard about pastors, not just in Kenyan but from across the globe, pulling insane stunts in an effort to win congregations.

While pastors often serve as spiritual guides, some have extended their purview to include financial matters, blending religious authority with purported expertise in investments, budgeting, and wealth management. Yet, recent incidents underscore the perils of placing blind faith in these individuals.

This issue has prompted a reflection on the intersection of faith and financial guidance, particularly when it comes to investments and wealth management.

A good example is when a radio listener recounted encounters with self-proclaimed Christian financial advisors, including a pastor who intertwined stock tips and trading strategies with biblical references. While such integration of faith and finance may initially appear reassuring, the listener expressed skepticism, citing personal experiences of encountering deceitful individuals who exploited religious pretenses for personal gain.

The listener shared a cautionary tale of a couple seeking financial counsel after the husband squandered a significant portion of their savings on speculative trading, influenced by his role as a stock trading instructor.

Despite attempts to appeal to his religious convictions, the husband persisted in his risky financial behavior. This instance serves as a poignant example of the dangers inherent in relying on financial advice that masquerades under the guise of religious authority.

It’s not advisable to mix religion and investment. Those who have done so, especially in Kenya, have ended nursing losses accompanied by premium tears.

Here are the top 5 mistakes pastors make regarding money:

  1. Not knowing anything. The pastor doesn’t have to be business-minded. He can surround himself with wise counsel, but the pastor needs some basic knowledge in order to lead the church effectively. Learn to read the financial documents of the church. Get some basic training in financial terms so you can lead people well. Especially in today’s world of speculation and trust issues, those who give to a church want to know that leadership has a handle on the finances of the church before they are willing to invest in the mission.
  2. Handling too much. The pastor never, ever, ever needs to be the sole person to handle money. I’m careful even when someone hands me a check in the hall. I quickly find someone on our finance committee or our Business Administrator. I would never want to sign checks. As pastors, we have to remain “above reproach” and that’s especially true in this area of finances. For appearances, but also to guard our own heart. Temptation is huge for all of us in the area of money.
  3. Being Controlling. When the pastor is the only one who decides how the budget of the church is going to be spent a few problems occurs. First, great ideas are left off the table. Collaboration is the best approach to most decisions, but especially spending someone else’s (God’s) money. Second, the pastor becomes too powerful. Money is power. In the business world and the church world. The pastor doesn’t need that load of responsibility on his own. Finally, eventually people begin to mistrust the system, the pastor, and even the church. The pastor will make some decision no one agrees with and the troubles begin. Beware. Invite trusted people into the process.
  4. Not asking for money. If the church is going to disciple people, it can’t avoid the subject of money. This isn’t even as much about funding the ministry. God can take care of that. If you’re following His will on what you do, He can fund it. But, this is about leading people to be disciples. And as we know, God doesn’t fully have a person’s heart until He has control of their finances. Pastors, we have to teach this to our people.
  5. Not being transparent. Tell everything. You don’t have to share details that people don’t care about, but there shouldn’t be any secrets when people ask. And, keeping people abreast of the general financial welfare of the church is critical. I heard from a church recently that is in serious financial difficulty, but no one in the church except the pastor and bookkeeper even knew. When it was found out, there was obvious repercussions—anger, frustration, hurt. Those emotions can usually be avoided if people know in advance where you stand.

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