This is it! The last week of our Organization Advent … a month spent cleaning up our ministry and biz clutter to make room for the new opportunities God has for us in 2017.
I know it is really not nice of me to ask you to look at your finances the week after Christmas. But maybe this is the be best time. Maybe after navigating the spending frenzy of the holidays, you are more sensitive to the need to be good stewards of our financial resources.
It’s so easy to generate a load of online financial clutter. $5 per month here, $29 per year there, before we know it, we’ve burdened ourselves and our ministry with monthly and annual obligations that restrain our ability to freely respond to needs that arise.
In his first epistle, the apostle Peter instructed the churches in Asia Minor in living for God and included an instruction we can use to evaluate our financial commitments.
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)
God’s grace has many forms. To some, he has extended his grace in the form of financial resources that we use to share his message in various ways. And so Peter has instructed us to use those gifts to serve others. As we decide where to spend money, or where to spend energy to earn money, our focus should be on serving others more effectively.
Let’s use this lens to examine two areas where we tend to accumulate financial clutter.
Review your monthly charges
Hosting. Canva. PicMonkey. Email Provider. LeadPages. Cloud file storage. Membership sites for writers, platform builders and leaders. Course hosting platforms. Social Media schedulers.
How many of these things are you paying for? Are all of them being used to serve others? Or have we been guilty of jumping on a bandwagon, afraid of falling behind the trends?
Everybody is using this, so I better use it, too, or I won’t be able to keep up with them.
As you look at each thing you are paying for, ask yourself if there are ways you can maximize a free tool to do the same thing .. or almost the same thing that is good enough. I’d love to move my email list and newsletter to ConvertKit, but I don’t want to add that monthly expense right now. Some I am hacking the mess out of MailChimp, using groups and segments and replicating posts to create targeted emails and a semi-automated mini-course series. It may be a little awkward and take a bit of time, but there are other places I’d rather invest financially that more directly serve my readers.
Review Your Affiliate Programs
If monetizing your blog is one of your goals, sharing helpful resources with your audience is one way to serve them. Faithful stewardship of these resources means that we are honest and transparent about the commissions we earn. It means we share only things that we truly believe in and can authentically convey how they help us and our audience.
It also means we are choosy about whose products we promote. We should have high standards of service and values for those we lock arms with, not just promoting the brand that pays the highest commission.
Make a list of all the affiliate programs you are a member of and examine each one. Do they hold up to high standards you can stand behind?
Whatever form God’s grace has taken towards us, our responsibility to be good stewards of that grace in serving others can be seen both in how we spend our money and how we earn it. Are you being a good steward?