Posted on Monday December 17, 2012
No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. (Luke 16:13)
“People aren’t just swimming in a sea of materialism, they’re drowning in it. When it comes to money, people don’t know how to live because they don’t know how to give. The antidote to greed and the way out of debt is giving” (Rebuilt, 172).
The Church of the Nativity tried numerous fundraising strategies and failed. During their transformation, they reoriented their focus from fundraising to raising givers. “Fundraising raises funds. We should be raising givers” (Rebuilt, 178).
What do they do now? They challenge members to become:
- Planned givers (designating money in their budget to give)
- Priority givers (giving to God first before other expenses)
- Percentage givers (giving a percentage, not a dollar amount)
- Progressive givers (increasing the percentage regularly)
The Church of the Nativity only talks about giving once a year on the weekend before Thanksgiving called “Stewardship Sunday.”
Watch the Church of the Nativity’s Stewardship Sunday video:
You Can Do This: Raising Givers
- Step One: As parish leaders, start obeying God’s word when it comes to your own personal finances, beginning with the tithe. Give back to God your first 10 percent.
- Step Two: Reconsider fundraisers and competing systems that send confusing messages to members about how they should be supporting the parish. If your budget relies heavily on fundraisers, start weaning yourself off them, even if it means delaying projects or temporarily cutting programs. To the extent possible, reduce special appeals and “second” collections or any collection besides your worship offering.
- Step Three: Pray over your offering as it is taken.
- Step Four: Live within your means when it comes to how you are spending your offering. Be good stewards of whatever is given.
- Step Five: Preach about money as often as it comes up in the lectionary. Preach about giving to the parish once, and only once, a year. Ask for parishioners’ commitment, based not on your need for money, but on their need to give.
Repeat these steps year after year in a disciplined manner. Through each of these steps, always teach your congregation to give in their place of worship as an act of worship. Help them learn to do it for no other reason than to honor God and grow as a disciple. Don’t keep limping along with fundraisers while saying you trust God.
Raise disciples, and God will send the money.