Art Rainer serves as vice president for institutional advancement at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest. He holds a doctorate in business administration from Nova Southeastern University and an MBA from the University of Kentucky. Rainer lives in Wake Forest with his wife, Sarah, and their three children.
Rainer recently authored The Money Challenge, which explores God’s design for money. He has partnered with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina for a series of lunch-and-learn events in various locations across the state this fall, where he will share some of the principles from his book.
Rainer recently took some time to share some insights into his book and a preview of some of the things he will share at The Money Challenge lunch and learns.
Q: Why did you write The Money Challenge?
A: Like many Americans, many in the church are experiencing significant financial stress. The stress injures their career, ministry, family and generosity. They live in fear. They are afraid of their current financial situation and they are afraid of what their future financial picture will look like.
This is not God’s desire for us.
God designed us, not to be hoarders, but conduits through which His generosity flows. The Money Challenge helps readers discover and realize this design. My hope is that readers will begin living the fulfilling, adventurous and generous life on which too many of us are missing out.
Q: Why do so many people, including Christians, struggle with their finances?
A: Often, we try to do finances on our own, sometimes intentionally, departing from the principles found in the Bible.
God gives us over 2,000 verses about money and our possessions. Jesus spoke on money more than any other topic while on earth. The basic money management steps we find in the Bible are this – give generously, save wisely and live appropriately. The closer we get to following these steps, the better positioned we are to pursue biblical, financial health.
Q: In your response to the first question, you quoted from the book in saying that God designed us “to be conduits through which His generosity flows.” What do you mean by that statement?
A: God owns everything. Therefore, our resources are not really our resources. They are His. So why did God entrust us with His stuff?
The parable of the talents reveals that God desires us to use the resources under our watch to advance His Kingdom. This cannot be accomplished by holding tightly to our possessions but by reflecting the generosity of God with our own resources and lives. God gives us resources so that we may demonstrate and share the love of Christ to others.
Q: You’ve partnered with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina for a series of lunch-and-learn events that will focus on stewardship, generosity and other related themes from your book. Why should a pastor or church leader attend, and what do you hope they will take away from these events?
A: We want church leaders to walk away with a new tool in their tool belt to develop a culture of generosity in their church. Most of the time, a culture of generosity does not develop by accident but, instead, arises out of an intentional discipleship effort. We want to provide practical suggestions that leaders can implement immediately and show them how they can leverage The Money Challenge at their church.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – The Money Challenge lunch and learns are scheduled for Oct. 19 in Charlotte, Oct. 26 in Kernersville and Nov. 9 in Cary. Each event is limited to 30 people. To learn more or to register, visit ncbaptist.org/themoneychallenge.)