The One Thing You Can Do to Increase Generosity
Interview with J. Clif Christopher, Part 2
Now on to the last two interview questions:
Since Rich Church, Poor Church was written in 2012, I wanted to know what, in Clif’s estimation, had changed over the intervening years. I thought he would no doubt mention the rise of electronic giving. But his answer went in a totally different direction from what I expected.
“The only new thing on the horizon is the church’s continuing sexuality debate [for non-United Methodists, this refers to the ongoing dispute over LGBTQ rights]…I have seen churches put things on hold as they wait to see what the church will decide [referring to the Commission on a Way Forward]. There is uncertainty as to what the church will look like. Will we be one United Methodist Church? Evangelical United Methodists? Peaceful United Methodists? I work with one church that is 80% left leaning but the 20% who are conservative give the most money to the church. Not knowing means less risk is being taken by the local church.”
EMC3 – Excellence in Ministry Coaching – has an excellent example of what a “high expectation” church might look like using the membership vows of prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. You can download it right here. Think about using this handout as a conversation starter with your leadership group or Administrative Council about how your church might define “high expectation.”
And thus ended my very invigorating interview with J. Clif Christopher. I was challenged and I was enlightened. My deep gratitude goes to him for taking the time to talk with me. So here’s a toast to your congregation discovering ways it can become or continue to be a “rich church” serving all of God’s people. Lord knows our world needs you…right now.
Correction: For those on my email list, last week I mistakenly said that Clif went to Drew University. He actually went to Emory.
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 found out that the “J” in J. Clif Christopher stands for “James” and “Clif” is short for “Clifton.” Whew! Mystery solved. She was the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. 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 email@example.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity.
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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.