One of the common recurring questions I hear from church leaders is around the topic of money. As I've talked and listened for over 25 years as a pastor, and now 2 as a bishop, I can safely say that most congregations don't know what to do about money. We don't know how to talk about it, we don't know how to manage it, we don't know how to ask for it, we don't do money very well.
Here's the irony. What did Jesus talk about more than anything else? Yup, money.
So, here is my crazy idea, and I've already been asked by two churches to come and do it. So form a line.
I'll come to your church and conduct a 103 minute session called, "The One Year Money Plan." I may change the title, as that sounds like something out of a slick TV sales book. Here's what will happen in those 103 minutes. We will work together as a leadership team, draft and plan a one year stewardship plan for your congregation. It'll be customized to your church. It will include a calendar of what to do each month, and who is going to do it. This will be a complete year round plan for your congregation, based on your culture and your current giving patterns. It'll also be based on the core principles of developing health generosity in Christians - Give, Thank, Tell.
Notice I have not said this will be a "Five easy steps" plan. You will have to do work. Your pastor will have to work hard. Your church council will have to step forward. Your financial secretary and your treasurer will have to work hard. I'm also going to ask people to give more, and I'll start by asking the pastor to increase his or her giving, and then I'm going to ask your church council to increase their giving, and then you are going to go to your congregation and ask every active participant in your congregation to increase giving.
Then we are going to thank people. We are going to plan a way to thank people. Thankfulness is the core attitude that we will celebrate and strategize.
Then we are going to Tell stories, good stories, stories about giving and receiving, stories about God's grace in our lives. Holy Moly Batman, we are going to give Lutheran Testimonials.
You'll have a plan, a purpose and a goal. You'll know what to do for a whole year. You won't have to have long boring Stewardship Committee Meetings. But, you might have to have a "Let's have a Party" committee.
My request to your church is that you agree to increase your mission support to the ELCA and the New England Synod. That's the fee for this hands-on let's get something done about this money question project.
Here is where it get's crazy. I'll make a $100 donation to your church to do this for you. Yup, as a sign that your bishop is truly crazy, and holds highly the value of generosity. I'll show up with a $100 check. I'll do this for 12 churches, 2 are already in, where are the other 10?
Who's in? Who is crazy enough to try this out? Who believes that God in Christ is such a generous God that we don't need to worry about money, we need to celebrate the extravagant economy of God's radical unconditional Grace.?
Send me an email jhazelwood at nesynod.org