We also push 50/50 giving in our community. That's taking your tithe (or whatever percentage you give) and giving 50% of it to the church community and 50% of it to works of love and mercy outside the church community. Then we as a church strive to do the same ... take 50% of our money and use it for ourselves and give 50% away. It puts the focus where it needs to be (IMO), which is on being Christ in the world among the poor, weak, sick and lonely. It also makes it all seem a lot less self-serving.
I really like the strategy he suggests - especially how his idea turns the focus from raising money for our own church to giving in Christ's spirit.
I also picked up a book by Dan Hotchkiss, Ministry and Money, A Guide for Clergy and Their Friends. Still a ways to go yet, but here's some quotes that jumped out at me so far.
"We avoid confronting our unease about economic inequality by distancing ourselves from people who are different, and by trying not to notice the differences. One of the most frequent reasons clergy give for avoiding the financial aspects of congregational life is that they don't want to know how much members give." (pg. 8)
and some statistics: 36% of labor force and 24% of weekly churchgoers say, "it annoys me when churches ask me to give money." (pg. 16-17) Ah.
Sermon 12/3/17 Mark 13:24-37, Isaiah 11:1-10 Peace: All Is Calm, All Is Bright “Silent night, holy night. All is calm, all is bright. Round yon’ virgin mother and child. Holy infant, so tender and mild. Sleep in heavenly peace. Sleep in heavenly peace.” This week, I read news stories about North Korea testing a missile that perhaps could reach across the whole of the United States. This week, I spoke with a colleague in ministry who had, like all churches in our conference, received from our church insurance company information about how to respond in an active shooter situation. She was trying to figure out how to respond to anxious parishioners and yet not get caught up in spending all of their ministry time on creating safety plans. This week, we’ve continued to hear stories from people who have experienced sexual assault and harassment, as the actions, sometimes over decades, of men in positions of power have been