Just say it! Gerd Altmann @ Pixabay
Hi Friends. I’m heading out for a few days of R&R in the woods. Never fear, I’m bringing five masks along. You can never be too safe in nature, amirite kids? Wear the mask!
The bulk of what you will read henceforth (because I like using a word like “henceforth”) came from a blog post from last year. Last year? Geesh, seems like a decade ago. So much has happened. But in 2020 we are in our pandemic Twilight Zone and it feels like the year will never ever end. Can you give us a word of hope, Dr. Fauci? Please!
Back to the blog post – and back to the United Methodist new year that started July 1. Let’s start off the year with some good habits.
How can you (lay people) 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 as a spiritual discipline. 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” Paragraph 340.2.c.(2)(c). 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”). 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. Having a committee like this will no doubt be an encouraging sign to your pastor that you mean it when you say, “It’s OK to talk about money.”
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.
As a team, you and your pastor can make a fabulous difference in a world that needs Good News. Go ahead, give your pastor permission to talk about the spiritual discipline of giving.
A version of this blog was originally posted on June 26, 2019.