Knowing What People Give
One pastor's thoughts on when to check church donor records.
Knowing What People Give

Some ministers believe they should know exactly how much various individuals give to the church. They believe the checkbook is a barometer of a person's spirituality, and knowing a person's giving pattern is necessary for proper pastoral care. Other pastors don't want to know what their people give; they feel it's a private matter between the person and the Lord.

I come down in the middle on this issue. I do not need to know what everybody gives to the church. I assume they're all good givers until I have reason to believe otherwise. So I prefer not to know.

Except in certain instances. When I am looking for a trustee or someone to chair a building-fund drive, I will examine what the candidate has contributed to the church. If I am choosing the missions committee chairperson, I investigate how he or she donates to missions. I cannot expect people to follow someone who is not a giver, and I cannot expect people to give if the leaders of a giving program do not give, themselves.

So, I will examine people's giving, but only on rare occasions. It's like a reference, a character check. And even in these situations, I'm not after specific amounts. I just want to know if the person gives more than a token amount.

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