Exploring the Intersections of Faith and Life

from September 11, 2008
A Question: What do we do about money?

Let’s be blunt – money is becoming more and more scarce in our churches. Even churches not trying to make changes for the future are experiencing a decrease in giving and increased expenses, especially for buildings and staff. But if you are in a church that is actively seeking to grow and make significant changes, you may have already felt the financial pinch.

• First, you too may be dealing with increasing costs for building upkeep and staff.
• Second, when we make changes, it is not uncommon for some long-term members to begin to withhold giving as a way of expressing their displeasure over change.
• Third, if we are bringing in younger people, they often don’t have the giving habits of our older members, and thus even if we are growing numerically, we may be seeing a decrease in giving.
• And fourth, concern over the economy is trickling down into the church. We have even been seeing that at the presbytery level. In Minnesota Valleys, for over a decade churches have been great at keeping up their mission giving, even with declining membership. But it finally reached us, as churches reached the limit of what they felt they could give, and thus at the regional level, we too are facing some challenging financial decisions.

Now you may be reading this thinking/hoping that I will have some great answer for you about how we deal with this challenge. Unfortunately, I don’t. I wish I did. But I do raise the question – how will we faithfully meet this challenge without compromising our mission and vision? How has your congregation struggled with this? What have you tried? Are there things you have given up so that resources could be available for other things? Have you found creative ways to meet your needs?

I invite you to share both what you’ve tried, ideas, and your struggles. We’re all facing this – can we help each other and encourage each other through this challenge?

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