You have my permission to steal this letter!
Yesterday, I participated in an interactive Zoom stewardship forum hosted by Ken Sloane, Director of Stewardship & Generosity for Discipleship Ministries of the UMC. And you thought you had a long job title.
One thing we did was to break into “chat rooms” to have conversations in smaller groups. I was talking to people from Northern, VA; Washington, DC; Wisconsin; and Los Angeles, CA. How cool is that? I’ll tell you – pretty darn cool.
During our time together we talked about how things were going financially in our individual churches. Most congregations were doing quite well. But there was one woman whose church was clearly suffering. Many of her people were older, didn’t like to give on line, and because they weren’t in church physically – had gotten out of the habit of giving.
I was floored when she said, “We just sent out a letter letting people know that their gifts are still needed.” What?! More than three months into the pandemic and this is the first time you’re sending out a letter? Oh my.
Never fear. I’m sure her church is not the only one that’s been late to the game.
There’s been a lot of wishful thinking (like a lot of us have been doing) that this pandemic thing will quickly pass. Before you know it, we’ll all be back together “just like we’ve always been.” Any minute now, we’ll be worshiping and the offering plate will be filling right up (never mind that the offering plate, for hygienic purposes, won’t see the light of day for a long, long while).
Friends, you know that we won’t be reconvening “like we were” any time soon, right? COVID is making its ugly self right at home in the U.S.
In case you haven’t been communicating in writing with your congregation or organization, it’s never too late to start.
Here’s my gift to you – a pre-written, almost-ready-to-go “ask” letter.
Truth be told, I originally wrote this for an April Greater Northwest webinar that I did with the aforementioned and awesome Ken Sloane (was that this year?). I’ve made a few tweaks to update the original letter but the basic message is still the same: “The church is open for ministry. And through your generous gifts, you can be a part of it.”
You can access the letter here. If you’d like it in Word, shoot me an email and I’ll send it to you.
Communicating with your people about what you’ve been doing and the needs you have is so important. Please don’t assume that people are mind readers and know what’s been happening in the church since the pandemic took hold. You need to tell them. They want to hear from you.
Send them a letter.