The bible is not short of teaching about money and wealth.  Jesus spoke a lot about money and wealth - I am told that 11 out of his 39 parables refer to them! This must tell us about the significance of money and how it can affect our walk with God and our relationship with our neighbour. In a materialistic world, many people would recognise that we need to be challenged about our attitude to money – and wealth – and how they affect our hearts.

Yet surprisingly, we rarely choose to talk about money and wealth in many UK churches.  I think that is because it is a sensitive topic and many clergy feel ill-equipped to talk about it. The sparsity of teaching about money is compounded by the fact that when it is spoken about, the focus is often on tithing our income. Very little is said about how we might use our wealth or capital. 

This is also surprising as we know that any business has both its income (and expenditure) for that year as well as its balance sheet which it has built up over a number of years.  And the same is true for individuals – we earn a certain income in a year and many of us have over the years accumulated a certain amount of assets or wealth – whether in the form of a flat or a house, some saving or investments (such as stock market funds held in an ISA and a pension).

So how might we use our capital or wealth well?  How can we prepare for retirement and financial security, whilst also using our wealth to be a blessing to the world?

If you have enough capital or wealth to give some away, you could support the work of a church or a charity or someone you know, and see the impact it can have while you are alive. This is often called a ‘living legacy’, delivering immediate impact to a cause or person that’s close to your heart. You could also make a plan to leave a legacy in your will.

You may not have enough capital to give away, but lending money to an individual or charity or investing in a flat or house which you lease to a refugee family or to r a charity like Hope into Action can multiply the impact your wealth can have while maintaining your asset as your own. This means your wealth can have a positive impact whilst maintaining your future security.

Through teaming up with Hope into Action, you can invest from as little as £5,000 to help house the homeless in the UK. With your investment, Hope into Action, in partnership with a local church, will be able to lease your house for five years, and provide a safe and secure home for people who have experienced homelessness. Over the five year lease, you’ll receive a rental return on your investment as well as the potential increase in value of the house (though its value could also fall).

What I like about working with Hope into Action is that you know you are teaming up with a great Christian organisation who have experience supporting homeless people well and who will link up with some volunteers from a local church.

There are a variety of ways (and you may think of other ways) we can use our capital to positively impact the lives of others.  This approach runs contrary to the capitalist model of profit maximisation but goes with the biblical principles of generosity and blessing others through what we have been given. 

When we look around each of our churches the collective amount of wealth or capital that is controlled by members (much of it in housing) probably runs into the tens of millions of pounds. Just imagine how much impact we could have on the lives of others if we could find creative ways to use our wealth to impact the lives of others while still providing for ourselves when we get older.

 Richard Gough, HiA Investor