Richard Schnase, in his book Practicing Extravagant Generosity, tells of watching a hawk one day as it carried a stick to build its nest. He reflected that, in truth, a bird never builds a nest for itself, only for its young. All the work, worry, and watching is for the benefit of future generations.

As we look at all the sticks, straw, and mud we use to build our church budgets, perhaps we might think a little about what we are building, and for whom. For some of us our churches are nests that we never want to leave. They are to benefit us. They are about keeping the present comfortable. They are not launching pads, but retirement homes.

Those of us in leadership need to look at our budgets from time to time and ask ourselves, “What about our budget is directed toward the coming generation? Is it aligned with the future God is building in our community? Will it be used to further the mission ahead of us, or behind us? Is it designed to grow people into maturity, so they can strike out on their own for good and for God?” These are helpful questions because they force us to think more clearly about our purpose and mission. They are hard questions because our mission challenges us to think more about its success more than our own.

Need help thinking about your mission? Call our Conference Church Development office at (317) 924-1321. If you need help thinking about your budget contact The United Methodist Foundation of Indiana. You can reach us at ghowell@umfindiana.org or 317-788-7879.

Glenn Howell
Director of Development
United Methodist Foundation of Indiana

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