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finance training, day 2

I continue at this clergy finance training event in Binghamton.

Thoughts from today:
The leaders (from the United Methodist Frontier Foundation) strongly suggest that pastors, to be in ministry, need to know what their church members are giving. If you are a pastor, do you know what your parishioners give? If you are a lay member, what do you think about pastors knowing who gives what? I know the benefits, and I also understand why some would be uncomfortable with this.

We also spent a lot of time talking about stewardship campaigns. I posted questions about stewardship campaigns last year, but that was before anyone really read my blog. So, let me try again. What kind of stewardship campaigns do you do in your congregation? Your own program? Prepackaged? Have you seen growth in giving and pledging? Do you talk about tithing in your congregation?

Another 'hot' topics we talked about:
1) Do pastors share how much they give with the congregation? If yes, how?
2) Do pastors somehow recognize and thank those who are big givers or big givers in proportion to income (assuming pastors have this information)?

Thoughts and insights are welcome. We also learned about endowments, gift annuities, and other things I have never before thought about in my life today. Lots of figures and ideas floating around in my head tonight . . .


Anonymous said…
I originally went into ministry thinking that I shouldn't know. I got over that, especially when the folks in my current church wanted me to know. One advantage is that it takes away the myths of who the big givers are in the church. Several folks in our church have much higher opionions of their level of giving than is actually the case, which means that when they try to use their offering as a place of power, it is much less effective.
toddwilliam said…
Elizabeth, I started posting on my blog again. Check it out.
LutheranChik said…
Hi, Beth.

Amazingly, we haven't had a stewardship campaign in our congregation for years...whenever we needed more money for something we'd just pass the hat, so to speak. But we've grown to the point where we need to build an addition, which necessitates having to talk about money in a more formal, mindful way in our congregation. What we did was send a long letter/newsletter to everyone even tangentially connected with our congregation, telling them what was going on in our church, what our plans were for expansion, etc. We included a 5-year stewardship pledge, for any amount of money that households felt they could afford, and asked them to sign and return them. So far we've gotten 55 pledges back, but that's been enough to cover the down payment on our addition. And the interesting thing is...our operating budget and special projects like kids' confirmation camp are still being funded adequately the "old-fashioned," non-stewardship-campaign way; we're still passing the hat.;-)
Sharon said…
I wish ALL denominations would have such a seminar! I have never made it my business to know what the people in my church give, or to let them know what I give. I can see advantages both ways. I am in a church that just lost some (very likely) big givers over the UCC General Synod resolution on marriage equality. I am fortunate enough to serve a congregation that has had experience with attempted blackmail by "big givers" and the congregation has stood firm both times. The "big givers" have left, and last time it didn't close the doors of the church, and we are confident that this time we will live, too.
Revwilly said…
Do pastors share how much the give? I tell my people we tithe and give to building fund. I don't tell them exactly how much.
Do I know what others give and who my big givers are? You bet! Giving is a spiritual issue. I take big/sacrificial givers out to lunch from time to time and thank them for their generosity and faithfulness.

I occasionally us pre-packaged campaigns, but always give the month of October to preaching on stewardship and casting vision. Attendance is alway high that month.

We tell knew members that one of our expectations is that they will tithe and that they will be expected to tell us how much they plan to give in a given year. Good givers love this and those who struggle with being obedient and generous tend not to want to join. That's ok because they can go to someone elses church and take up space.

I also take any opportunity I can to talk about tithing and get others who do tithe to talk about it. The concept must be systemic and expected behavior.
Andy B. said…
We create our own "campaign," such as it is. Basically a letter from me as pastor, then a week later a letter from the stewardship team with a tear-off slip to send back in, then a couple weeks later a dedication service.
My opinion is that pastors should know how much people give. Christians need to give, and part of nurturing the spiritual health of the Christians in my congregation is keeping them accountable to that.
Andy B.
Anonymous said…
First time blogger, be gentle.
I am a stewardship consultant with the Texas Methodist Foundation. We conduct stewardship workshops throughout Texas with emphasis on using a narrative ministry plan rather than the line item budget as the principal source of communicating the churches' need. Also, we stress that Stewardship is part of the covenant of membership in UMC.
Most of our annual campaigns are church designed rather than 'canned' off the shelf. The best of those IMHO is New Consecration Sunday by Herb Miller. When used with the narrative ministry plan it works very well. Grace and Peace,

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