Last week seems like such a long time ago, doesn’t it? In a week, we experienced the Summer Solstice, came this close to going to war, and have been appalled by what’s happening at the border. Sorry to be Debbie Downer but it’s all been weighing heavy on my heart. However, if you want to feel something other than despair, go see the fantastic Elton John biopic, “Rocketman” or catch Netflix’s hilarious rom-com “Always Be My Maybe.” See? I can be Suzie Sunshine…though sometimes it takes considerable effort.
But back to last week. Last week’s blog post, “A New Appointment? 6 Tips to Inspire Generosity” was about the new pastor coming to your church and what she or he could do to set the stage for generous giving. Now it’s your turn. You and your new clergyperson are in it together – you’re a team.
How can you set your pastor up for generosity success? Glad you asked.
1. Be proactive: Give your pastor permission to talk about money, possessions, generosity, and giving. Too many clergy have been told by that one person, “I don’t like sermons about money.” Thus, that one person unceremoniously shuts down all sermons on the topic. Let your clergyperson know from the get go that you are supportive of his or her efforts to talk about money and generosity. Want to know more? Read these past posts: “The Church is Only Interested in Money” and “Why You Must Preach about Money.”
2. Let your clergyperson have access to giving information. This one always makes folks (both clergy and laity) bristle. However, the 2016 UMC Book of Discipline – which I know you have memorized – says, “…the pastor, in cooperation with the financial secretary, shall have access to and responsibility for professional stewardship of congregational giving records.” Read my three-part series “Should You Know Who Gives What?” starting here. Or another one, “The Power of Secrecy.” At the very least, have the conversation.
3. Create a “Generosity Network” (aka “Stewardship Committee”). Yesterday, the Center for Stewardship Leaders posted an article by Laura Wilhelm about a new look at the old Stewardship Committee. “Two goals [of the Generosity Network] were established: (1) Build a higher expectation church—in order for people to put a lot into the church, the church needs to expect a lot from the congregation and (2) provide a narrative overlay to the usual line item budget.” Brilliant! So many good ideas. Take a read.
Everyone wants their pastor to succeed. Everyone wants their congregation to be thriving and vibrant. To make this a reality requires generosity of spirit, time, and yes, financial resources. Help your pastor help you be on the way to a terrific tenure together.
You’re getting a new pastor. Hooray! That’s worthy of celebration. s a team you and your pastor can make a fabulous difference in a world that needs Good News. Enjoy.