Inspiring Generosity


G’day mates! I’m still in the land of kangaroos and…I’m still hoping not to get kicked by one.

While I’m gone, here’s part two of the three-part series on budgets. It’s never too early to ponder if your congregation or organization has the mindset of abundance or scarcity…and determining which is more inspiring.

Building a Budget: Abundance or Scarcity? Part 2

An abundance of ice cream...heaven. Flare@flickr.com.

Hey everybody! I know you’re anxious to find out if I survived my bout with numerophobia. Well, after a quart of Moosetracks and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s (and a little Haggen Dazs)…I can endure anything. Bring the numbers on!
I was thinking about ice cream (again) because last week I wrote about 2 Ways to Build a Budget:
1. You determine what God is calling your congregation to do. Depending on what your congregation has done in the past and is capable of doing in the future, you build a budget.
2. You look at your budget and either stay constant, cut items, or do a small increase.
It probably came as no surprise that I voted number 1 as the hands-down winner. And, development guru, Kim Klein agreed in an email: “I work with many churches and this is just exactly what they need to read!...There is a saying in fundraising, ‘Manage to mission and money will follow’ or the Gospel, ‘Don’t worry about what you are to eat or to wear. God knows you need these things.’”
In the past week, the good Lord has put more people in front of me to illustrate this.
Rev. Kim Fields (Richland, WA) wrote in his Facebook “Monday Musings,”
“Early on in pastoral ministry it was a struggle for me to be generous in giving. If I am honest I have to admit that I did not even come close to tithing. In my defense, I was just out of seminary, with three kids, and trying to get by on minimum salary. I struggled just to pay my bills. Giving 10% to God did not seem possible. Then one day I was counseling with a young family who were on the edge of bankruptcy. I knew that money was in short supply around their home and also knew they had made a generous pledge to the church. (They appeared to be one of the few families that actually tithed.)
Trying to be understanding and appreciative of the tough spot they were in I assured them that I would understand if they felt unable to give God what they had promised. To my shame they explained that, though money was tight, they could not afford not to trust God's promises. Of course they would continue to cover their pledge. In faith they knew that God would care for them.
That family placed their trust in God and kept their promises and, though it was not easy, in the end they were able to pay off all their creditors and have since been blessed by God in many ways. More than that, though they were unaware, their witness inspired me to trust God enough to begin to tithe myself. I have continued to tithe and, though it may sound cliché, I have not missed the money one bit. Indeed, I too have been greatly blessed by God.”
Does your faith community believe in a God of abundance or scarcity?
I hope it’s the former – and it has to be based in reality. You know that I do not believe in “Faith Budgets” but I do believe that God provides everything that you need right now. Just last night I was listening to one of my favorite podcasters, Michael Hyatt. He says we need to “develop an abundance mindset. [Which] is really the antidote to scarcity. This does more to combat fear than any other single thing you can do.”
Or as Bishop Elaine Stanovsky says, “God is still at work in the world through the church…Our job is to figure out where God is at work and join God in that work.”
So go on out there and build that budget with joy, knowing that with an abundance mindset and your feet firmly planted on the ground, you have the great privilege of joining God at work in the world.
Stay tuned…next week I’ll give you some ways to practically implement a budget with an abundance mindset. If you are already doing this, shoot me an email and let me know how you’re making it happen.
Originally published September 21, 2016.

Cesie Delve Scheuermann (pronounced “CC Delv Sherman,” yes, really) is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past fifteen years, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over three million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She believes in living the abundant life full of ice cream, granola, Jesus, and kangaroos (not necessarily in that order). Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. She is available to consult with churches. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity or at CesieScheuermann.com.

Cesie Delve Scheuermann
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.