If money going into the offering plate is down, should a church take on an ambitious ministry that requires special fundraising? Or take on a capital campaign to build a new building?
At least three experts offer a qualified "yes." They may be your church's avenue to spiritual growth during a difficult period of time.
And don't shy away from asking for large donations. Just make certain you know how to ask.
A New View of Money
Brian Kluth, a pastor and author of the book, 40 Days Spiritual Journey to a More Generous Life,says challengingeconomic circumstances mirror the time of Haggai.
"God allowed some cold economic winds to blow," Kluth says, "and his message was 'It's time to consider your ways.' The people had made generosity a low priority, while spending lavishly on their own things."
For more than 40 years, giving to churches has declined, good economic times or bad. If a church finds itself facing tough circumstances, "this is a time to call all people back to giving to God as their top financial priority," Kluth advises.
Kluth is also founder of Maximum Generosity, a ministry for teaching stewardship to churches and leaders. He points out that the economic status of most households falls into one of four categories: surplus, stable, struggling, and sinking. Those who are fighting to stay above the tide of debt get the most news coverage, and, appropriately, they may need emergency aid and decisive teaching by the church.
But the newly unemployed and the potentially homeless aren't the only ones who can benefit from a new view of money. So can the rich, even if they aren't as rich as they have been.
"Because we have some families who are struggling doesn't mean we should pull back from the Lord's work," Kluth warns. That's why church leaders and members need to understand where the money for capital campaigns usually comes from, and its impact on what goes into the offering plate.
Giving Shows Spiritual Maturity
The checks, change, and envelopes collected by the ushers usually come from personal income. This is the source of systematic giving (often after the givers engage the debate over tithing from the net or the gross income). In contrast, the giving to capital projects, whether buildings, ministries, or funding for new staff, more often comes from personal assets, especially the larger gifts. These designated funds from stock sales, jewelry, and property lead the tally in what Kluth calls spontaneous giving.
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