Dealing With Financial Problems


When financial hardship hits, it can be an awkward conversation for folks to have. However, the most loving thing to do is to talk about it! Some scholars would observe that money is the most frequently referenced topic in the entire Bible. Below are three steps to consider if financial hardship hits you, your group or church benevolence ministry.


If someone in your community expresses they are experiencing financial hardship, ask this person to share their financial picture (i.e., what they own, what they owe, where their money goes) with the group, church benevolence ministry, their Pastor, etc. If they don't have the full context, then it is difficult to provide good counsel. " The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly." (Proverbs 15:14). And "The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out." (Proverbs 18:15).



Once the financial picture has been reviewed, think through the various options to remedy the situation. Financially speaking, most of the time a person only has three options:

  1. 1. Increase Income
  2. Can they work overtime, get a new job, a second job, or start a side business?
    2. Sell Something
  3. Do they have anything of value to sell (collectibles, a vehicle, furniture, etc.)?
  4. 3. Reduce expenses
  5. Are there certain expenses that can be reduced?

Often someone wants their financial situation to change without changing their lifestyle, but a person’s situation rarely changes without changes to their lifestyle. Of the three options listed above, it is essential to keep in mind that increasing income is often out of a person’s control and selling stuff is not sustainable long-term. Therefore, the best way for someone to change their lifestyle is to reduce their expenses. Experience has proven that when it comes to cutting expenses, the two areas to examine first are housing and transportation. A person can find ways to trim $5 here or $20 there by looking at other expenses. However, the best way to reduce costs by hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars is for a person to change where they live and what they drive.


If you have gone through step 1 & step 2 and someone is still experiencing financial hardship and asks for money, here are three steps that need to be followed:

  1. 1. Gather facts:
  2. Have the person making the request share their complete financial picture with the individuals or group Do not move forward to the next step until everyone in the group believes they have all the relevant facts. The importance of this first step cannot be emphasized enough. Often as a person goes about gathering their facts the solution to their problem begins to present itself.

  3. Recommend these spreadsheets for looking at the financial picture.
  4. Budget Statement Worksheet here.
    What I spend money on the Monthly spreadsheet here.
    Plan Your Money Budget Categories and Amounts Spreadsheet Map here.
  5. Sample Monthly spreadsheet What I spend Monthly here.
  6. Budget Debt Reduction Calculator Spreadsheet here.

  7. 2. Assess need
  8. The group or individual will next determine if there is a need for financial assistance. Biblically, our needs are food, shelter, and clothing (see 1 Timothy 6:6-8. Note the word “clothing” in v8 is the word for “covering” which is considered to be covering of our bodies - clothing - and covering of our heads - housing).

    3. Determine solution
    If there is a need, the priorities should be as follows: (1) family, (2) immediate friends (i.e. community), (3) their local church (1 Timothy 5:8 and Acts 4:32). First, determine if this person’s family can help them with this financial hardship. If the family cannot help, next determine if anyone in the community group can help. Finally, if neither their family nor their community group can help, present the request to your church  benevolence ministry or connect with your local Pastor in this situation.


  10. Their failure to plan is not your emergency. If someone approaches the group claiming they are going to lose their house or car tomorrow, do not feel the need to bend over backwards to help with this immediate need. Part of what the Lord might be teaching this person is that they need to track their finances better so they can better access when needs will arise. "The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty." (Proverbs 22:3).
  1. Involvement is often better than money. Most of the time what people need is someone to help them get organized and brainstorm solutions, not write them a check. Each person is responsible to determining whether or not the financial contribution is going to help, not hurt. A great way to learn if the contribution will help or hurt is determining the person’s history with receiving gifts to help through tough financial circumstances. If the person needing help has a history of receiving help then it might not be a good idea to continue that cycle and provide another financial gift (John 13:34-35).

  2. Next: Meeting Financial Needs In and Through the Church

  3. Scripture exhorts us to give generously out of love for Christ and His people (Acts 4:32-35). As we seek to honor Christ in all things, it is wise to ask here.

    Recommend Printing the PDF.

    Biblical Stewardship - Giving

    What is biblical stewardship? Stewardship is committed to helping you develop solid money management skills, and we desire to equip, inspire and challenge you to live with an eternal mindset by embracing a life of stewardship and generosity here.


    Plan Your Money Budget Categories and Amounts Spreadsheet Map here.

    What I spend money on a Monthly spreadsheet here.

    Sample Monthly spreadsheet What I spend Monthly here.

    Budget Debt Reduction Calculator Spreadsheet here.

    Budget Statement Worksheet here.

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