Best Financial Stewardship Practices for Congregations
Notes from a workshop by The Rev. Phil Hirsch
NOTE: Observers were not present in all workshops.
Christians in the U.S. face always thinking they will like something else more (the consumer mentality – and Christians have it as well).
Jesus talked about money more than he did about heaven and hell combined. Jesus talked about money more than anything else except the Kingdom of God.
Don’t let the only time you talk about money in the church be when you are asking people to give. Pr. Hirsh encouraged attendees to talk about money as much as Jesus did.
Direct conversations about money:
How we make it
How we manage it
What we spend it on
How much is enough?
How do we minister to congregations?
Recommended book: Enough: Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity by Adam Hamilton, a small devotional book
Another recommended book: Not Your Parents’ Offering Plate: A New Vision for Financial Stewardship by J. Clif Christopher
REASONS PEOPLE GIVE:
1. Belief in the mission
People want to help make a difference in the world with their giving
Develop ways for people to tell their stories
Best annual meeting:
– Celebrate the ministry from the past year (in pictures, stories and statistics)
– Cast a vision for what the congregation might choose to do in the year to come
– What will that cost (spending plan)?
– How will we fund that (pledging)?
– Who is going to lead (elections)?
2. Trust in the leader
People look to the pastor to see if the efforts of the congregation are focused and have a good chance of success.
Speak the vision for the Church
Know their people’s giving patterns
Choose leaders who are faithful givers
Pay attention when giving stops
Make sure generosity is acknowledged
3. Fiscal stability of the institution
Even if giving is down, the leadership is managing the situation and providing direction.
Stop putting records of giving in the bulletin and newsletters.
Faithful and accurate reports (quarterly)