Can My Minister Drive an Expensive EV? - Hope 103.2

Can My Minister Drive an Expensive EV?

No matter what sort of electric vehicle, the 'Money: Faith and Finance' podcast dives into the complexities of Christian purchases.

By Ben McEachenWednesday 12 Apr 2023Money: Faith & FinancePodcastsReading Time: 2 minutes

The car we drive can say a lot about who we are and what we are about.

From environmental or political leanings to financial priorities, getting an EV could speak volumes.

What if your church minister buys a luxury EV?

Any difference between them and you?

Does a luxury EV charging out the front of church send a good or bad message message to the congregation – or community?

A friend of Money: Faith and Finance asked Sydney accountant Pete Burrows and Hope Morning’s Ben McEachen to consider their real-world situation of a church leader owning a Tesla.

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So, can your minister drive a Tesla?

Spending your money?

Straight out of the gates, Pete queried the complexities of this EV/minister situation.

Pete asked: How much is your minister “your” minister?

Do you “own” them?

When you give at church to contribute to staff wages, do you get a say in how the minister (or other staff) spend that money?

How reasonable is that, whether for an EV or any other personal purchase or bill?

“If you pay them a fair amount of pay for a fair amount of work, what they do with their pay is up to them.” That was Pete’s primary pushback, as an accountant, to the question of “can my minister drive a Tesla?”

He was not convinced that buying an EV (or hybrid) must be a political or environmental statement, particularly as parts of Australia heavily incentivise the take-up of electric vehicles.

Pete also pointed out that our personal connection with pastoral staff might make us hold them to much higher account than the CEO of a Christian organisation we financially support.

Accountable and public

Ben added that the New Testament references church leaders being held to “higher account” (see here for examples).

This position of responsibility can heighten our scrutiny of their decisions.

“Has the [minister] weighed up how their congregation will receive this?” Ben said about a luxury EV purchase.

“Let alone people driving past who don’t go to this church, how will they perceive a luxury EV parked out the front?”

Scripture and sensible choices point church leaders toward deep consideration of such perceptions.

How will their actions – or purchases – reflect upon the Lord and God they serve, worship and declare?

Where is their heart in making decisions like buying a pricey EV?

There’s an elephant in the room. The rest of us.

Judge not?

Everyone is challenged by conflicted desires, in all areas of life.

For any of us, buying an EV (especially the most expensive) might be more about our status than good stewardship.

Whatever a church leader is up against when making such a purchase, so are other followers of Jesus.

More a question of degrees than being a completely different scenario.

Listen to the full Can My Minister Drive a Tesla? episode in the player above and subscribe here to Money: Faith and Finance