When money gets tight

Church and finance |

Congregations face difficult decisions just as individual households do when money gets tight.

Congregations face difficult decisions just as individual households do when money gets tight.

The temptation is to panic and look at how we can cut the budget and reduce spending. But by diminishing what we do to serve our communities, we create more reason for people to wonder, "Why should I give to an organization that's in decline and reducing its services to those inside and outside the church?"

Rather than start by taking on a spirit of fear and scarcity, David Odom, Executive Director for Leadership Education at Duke Divinity School, suggests we look at our assets and how we can better leverage them. In other words - lead with your strength, rather than surrender to your weakness.

Too many congregations have forgotten what prompted them to form as a congregation - they've forgotten what their initial vision for being really is! What is your missional call? How should this be promoted better or reshaped in light of changing times, the changing demographic of the congregation and the always changing needs of the community in which we find ourselves?

Many congregations face this challenge - even if they aren't experiencing a decline in giving. It's what the Apostle John said about the church in Ephesus in Revelation 2:4. They were people who "forgot their first love."

A helpful first step for renewal is to remember your assets as a congregation. Not what they were 10, 20 or more years ago - but today. Are you maximizing these gifts God has placed in your midst as you shape your vision, which in turn shapes your priorities, which in turn gives your people a reason to get engaged in the congregation's ministry, including giving to its mission?

Odom writes, "The Christian faith provides a clear vision of what thriving communities and human flourishing look like. Such a robust vision is often lacking in distressed communities."

Facing the economic realities of our ministry requires looking at the work itself. What difference are we trying to make in the world? Who cares about that difference? How can everything the congregation does contribute to that difference? How can the money we invest contribute to an impact that is sustained over time?

For more information about how to revise your vision as a church and revive your funding sources, be in touch with your Everence® stewardship consultant or contact Beryl Jantzi, Director of Stewardship Education, at beryl.jantzi@everence.com.

Beryl Jantzi

Author

Beryl Jantzi
Director of Stewardship Education