July 12, 2019
Many of us who were raised in the church as children I believe started out with good stewardship habits. Our parents ensured that we placed our loose change or dollar in the collection plate. Similarly, our Sunday school teachers collected our offerings and dutifully recorded them. We were proud to drop the coins in the plate and for the times when we even considered keeping the money to buy a treat, the stern rebuke from parents and teachers would set us on the right path.
So here we are years later and stewardship for many congregations is a challenge. There are many reasons why our stewardship goals are not met. They include fewer parishioners in our congregation, older and some younger congregants on fixed income, and many congregants who are financially challenged for a variety of reasons.
There are two categories of congregants, however, who we oftentimes do not address directly, who by all objective measures can do better at their stewardship pledges. First there are those who continually pay the same collection as they did when they were youth, that is they pay $1 or similar amount each week. We don’t know the reason why, it might be that their understanding of stewardship pledges has not evolved beyond their training as youth. We have an opportunity to address this issue head-on without judgment so those who know better can do better.
Secondly, there are others who chose a specific payment in time and have continued that payment for the last many number of years e.g. $10 per week for 20 years. Here again, stewardship training that includes the real data on how the expenses for the ministry of the church has increased may prove helpful.
We of course are grateful for all who make a sacrificial giving of their time, talent and treasure to the church. We are especially thankful for those who understand how blessed we truly are and want to return those blessings in small part financially. Stewardship education should be emphasized continually year-round instead of once a year. We all need to come to terms with our fear of discussing money in our polite church company.