Giving is an important and concrete way to gauge the lives of people in our congregation. As important as what they give, is following up on any changes in what they give. When people change their giving, it means something has changed in them. Think for a moment about all the important changes that might happen in someone’s life—changes that might make giving go up or down:
- A parent died and left an inheritance
- A promotion at work
- Sold house to downsize/relocate
- Had a spiritual awakening
- Received a settlement for an injury
- Lost a job
- Suffered a loss in investments
- Incurred legal bills for self or children
- Received a difficult medical prognosis
- Losing interest in church family
Every item above can change the level of someone’s giving. More true, every item above is a time for pastoral care and connection. The giving changed because something changed in the person. These changes signal a prime time for ministry to happen, whether that is walking with them in joy, grief, anxiety, or fear.
You church needs a process to notice changes. Once noticed, information must be passed along to the pastor or appropriate person for follow-up. A simple, “How are things going?” or “We noticed your giving has changed, is there a story there?” will often open the door for them to share both wonderful and/or difficult things. Giving them space to share is a powerful way to connect with their lives, and it keeps the church aware of the lives of its members. Too often we lament that the church is only interested in money. Here is a chance to remind them that your church is interested in the people behind the money.
Don’t forget to notice changes. There is almost always a story there, one that offers your congregation an opportunity to be in mission, and in grace.
For more information about stewardship and the care of money, contact us here or by calling us toll free at 877-391-8811.
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Director of Development
United Methodist Foundation of Indiana