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Stewardship - Inspire October 08 - On the money

Steve Pierce responds to your financial concerns
 
Should all my giving go only to my local church?

Your local church is your top giving priority because it is where we are nurtured, worship and serve (see Numbers 18:22 and 1 Timothy 5:17-18). It was Jesus’ practice (Luke 8:3) and ministry and mission should not be constrained by lack of resources. But we should also support Christian agencies at home and overseas, especially those working alongside the poor (Deuteronomy 14:28-29; Luke 19:8, 12:33; Galatians 2:10).  Anglican bishops commend giving 5% to church and 5% beyond the church, which works for some.

Our church is always fundraising and I don’t like it. Is it my problem or a problem for my church?

Fundraising can’t compensate for poor giving levels and a sustainable income plan. If you have to hit a target to meet core costs, there’s no fun in the fundraising.

Out of control fundraising creates a money culture. The response to need is always to hold an event, not put our hands in our pockets. This sends all the wrong messages, especially to new church members.

Fundraising is fine as part of a mixed economy that can also include income from rent, legacies, grants etc, but churches should be building a culture of giving and generosity as a response to and an expression of God’s generous giving to us.

“You are not telling me there’s a debt problem in my church!”

This was a pastor’s confident rebuttal to debt expert Keith Tondeur, who had suggested there would be people in his church struggling financially. Meanwhile, the congregation were snapping up 47 copies of Keith’s book Escape from Debt.  

You would have to go a long way before you find a church that didn’t have people in debt. Does your church have simple pastoral and practical systems in place to help those who might be struggling and don’t know where to go?

Make a start by advertising the freephone number for the Consumer Credit Counselling Service 0800 027 4995 and by visiting www.red2black.org.uk to see how churches can take action.

Steve Pierce is the Head of Stewardship Money, the education ministry supporting churches in giving and good stewardship practice. Send your questions to him at Stewardship Money, PO Box 99, Loughton, Essex IG10 3QJ.
 

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