However, I think there are many ways to accomplish that without leaving yourself blind to details that are important to the life of your congregation. Yes, big churches bring in more money. They have more people giving and more people giving usually translates into larger total giving numbers.
Alumni development officers at your university track ROI very closely. The question boils down to, how much did it cost you to raise one dollar? What seems to be a good marker for the industry is about 24 cents for every dollar raised.
I would hope that our churches could get that number a little lower, but there is no real data supporting an industry standard ROI for churches. Smaller churches should have a relatively low ROI. That means your small church congregation will spend less to raise needed funds.
Look at some of the resource-sized parishes in the Episcopal Church. Some of these churches spend as much on their stewardship campaign as smaller churches spend on their whole budget!
Yes, I have seen churches that have experienced setbacks about the time their endowments reached a particular size. I just have never walked away convinced that the endowment was the actual reason for those setbacks. Poor leadership, troubled relations between ministries, a total inability to deal with conflict — those things create trouble. The inverse of this argument is also a myth.
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Some people think that endowments will fix everything. Recently the podcast, Future Perfect, released a series on the problems with large endowments that exist far beyond their intended life span. It was a fascinating look into the difficulties that can come with creating pools of money that might outlast us all. Endowments are tools that can be extraordinarily powerful under the right management. Getting the management right is critical.
You see a consistent decline in all your numbers.
There are fewer people in your pews, and they are giving less. There are fewer people who are giving. You think your church is dying. Your church might be dying. However, your church just might be changing. That might be okay.
The metric I think we should always fall back on is this: Are you forming disciples of Jesus Christ, regardless of the age of the people sitting in the pews? If you have a church that only has 25 people and they are all over the age of 65, are you forming those amazing boomers to be followers of Jesus?
Are you providing them with spiritual food and pushing them to increase the boundaries of their love? Are you tending to their needs and giving them the tools they need to deepen their spiritual life? Are you able to do those things with the resources the church is providing? He then goes on to command us to not worry about tomorrow, that we can be assured He will take care of us.
Why would He go there? Why would He need to say that?
Because He knows that our natural inclination is to look to money rather than Him for our sense of security. So if I may be so bold, many Christians today have replaced God with their wealth, believing they are, as a result, more secure.
If it is the here-and-now, your heart will be here. As I showed in my last post, stewardship is not expense management, but investment management. I believe that this radical shift in our understanding of stewardship is the greatest challenge facing us as Christians today because it goes straight to the core of whether God truly has our heart or not. Your email address will not be published. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
But there are a couple of problems with this understanding. This is a promise that money can never keep. By: Rick Dunham.