Roll out the welcome mat! MaybelAmber@pixabay
Last week ended with me watching, via Zoom, five wonderful people from the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference being ordained. I was taking in the service with a small group of people in a lovely church. While definitely not as satisfying as being in person at the actual ordination with all the bells and whistles and pomp and circumstance, I was nevertheless surprised when I burst into tears as a young woman who grew up in our church was prayed over by the Bishop. The Holy Spirit moves – even through the internet. Hallelujah.
Now, I’m heading to the coast to celebrate my anniversary (thank you, sweet spouse). This edited and repeated post is one for all you lay people out there. It balances quite nicely with last week’s, You’re Moving to a New Church. What Questions Should You Ask? So…
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? Or another post, The Power of Secrecy. At the very least, have the conversation.
3. Create a “Generosity Network” (aka “Stewardship Committee”). Faith + Lead at Luther Seminary posted An Empty Offering Plate by Laura Wilhelm, taking 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.
You’re getting a new pastor! That’s worthy of celebration. As a team you and your pastor can make a fabulous difference in a world that needs Good News. Enjoy.
Originally posted June 26, 2019.