anaging God’s Money was founded by Michel A Bell
and is a private, self-funded, God-centred mission. It is devoted to presenting Christian financial advice
and biblical stewardship principles and practices to individuals, couples, and groups. Managing God’s Money helps Christians become better stewards of resources using different media to provide Christian financial advice (lifestyle counselling) that promotes debt free lifestyles and minimize daily stress.
God's ownership of everything and your stewardship is central to Christian financial advice. Grasping this owner and steward relationship is essential to understanding the idea of the Christian's approach to proper handling of God's money. Most people prefer the term managing your money or managing my money, which they say reflects reality. According to them, people earn and so they should spend as they wish. Further, they say, managing my money
shows that God gives a free choice to spend funds at their discretion. Unfortunately, this reasoning ignores the owner and stewardship relationship. Everything we use belongs to God; we are His stewards or managers.
The Essence of Christian Financial Advice
Christian financial advice is rooted in the Bible, the source of Michel's GAS Principle,
which involves surrendering all areas of the Christian's life to Jesus, and allowing Jesus to guide all spending. Christian financial advice reflects Christian values, beliefs, and lifestyles. It is our lifestyles that drives spending.
Michel A Bell's Beginning
Why did Michel start this Managing God’s Money mission? In 1990, shortly after his daughter's engagement, she asked him to present her and her fiancee, pre-marital financial counseling. To prepare, Michel searched Montreal area Christian bookstores, bought all available Christian financial books, read them and was surprized at their contents. None linked handling finances to a vibrant relationship with Jesus. None stated explicitly managing money didn’t need technical financial knowledge, but an understanding that lifestyle choices create expenses. Effectively, none had Jesus as it’s foundation on which it built Christian financial principles, tips, tools, and techniques.
Michel presented the soon to be newly weds a series of brief Bible-based Christian financial management sessions linked to key financial practices of goal setting, budgeting, and credit card use. The youth pastor at church heard about the sessions and asked Michel to counsel folks at church. This led to Michel doing Christian financial counseling and Bible-based financial seminars at different churches in Montreal and elsewhere—later resulting in his first book, Managing God’s Money—The Basics ("Basics")
published in 2000.
When Michel began this journey, the Lord laid on his heart the title of this mission, Managing God’s Money,
but Michel struggled with using it because he was convinced then as now, no one can manage money—money management is lifestyle management. Still, as it was a clear direction from God, in obedience, he has used this not only as the mission’s title, but for main titles of his four money books, his CD, DVD, financial seminars, workshops and all he does.
Following the Basics’ publication, at age 53, Michel sensed the Lord guiding him out of his senior executive job, and into this teaching mission, full time. In 2002, as a senior executive of former Alcan Inc. (now Rio Tinto Alcan), he realized he needed to be obedient and heeded God’s clear call to leave the job he loved and would have paid to continue doing. God’s mandate was to leave and be available full time to God to do as God leads. Michel was to prepare no plans, charge no fees, but to serve whomever God brought to Him. In August 2002, Michel left Alcan Inc. and has been full time president of Managing God’s Money.
The Money Triangle
Another cornerstone of Christian financial management is the Money Triangle.
Understanding the Money Triangle
will help you see more clearly an important principle of Christian financial management—money isn’t manageable. The money triangle points you to the key variable that needs managing—you!
In each financial transaction, we have three parts: a merchant, me, and money. The merchant
produces stuff and tries to get me
to buy his stuff, even if I don’t need them. The merchant uses advertising gimmicks such as no money down, sales, and deals, tricking me
to think I save when I spend. Folks don’t realize they save only when they set aside funds at no risk. So, the merchant succeeds in convincing many to spend. He tell folks the more they spend the more they save, and then loans money to people who can’t afford to buy stuff. So, folks buy stuff they can’t afford and many people end deep in debt. The merchant’s strategy works, and so, he comes out on top.
The second item in the triangle is me
. Long ago, to sell his stuff, the merchant focused on advertising products or services, but not today. Today, the merchant appeals to me
with enticing financing schemes. Sales, deals, no money down, 50% off, zero percent financing are some tactics she uses. Folks succumb because they define affordable
as ability to get merchant financing; not ability to accommodate the full item cost in their household budgets without stress and strain to the family.
Money completes the triangle. What is it? Merely a means to an end. It’s anything the merchant will accept in exchange for goods or services he provides.
Which of the three Ms, in the money triangle can I manage?
I can’t manage the merchant who tries constantly to get me to spend.
I can’t manage money because it’s just the means, the bridge between me and the merchant.
I can manage me only—my lifestyle, my needs, my wants, my greed.
Before you spend, recall the money triangle. Look at how your lifestyle choices might affect spending. Look at your behavior and take your eyes off the merchant and money. Let’s ask Jesus to help you and me tackle the merchant and his gimmicks. Meanwhile, take a practical step: start working with our free envelope budgeting system.