I have long believed that you treat your giving leaders as leaders—no more, no less. In our anxiety over money, churches tend to avoid not just conversations about money, but also the topic of how to treat our strongest and most dedicated givers. Just the idea that we might know our good givers freaks some people out, much less the idea that someone might actually have a conversation with them based on their giving. All this reflects the truth that money has become something disconnected from our faith. We have lost the ability to see money and givers the way we see everything else in the church—that is, spiritually. If we did that, we might not feel weird about the following:
- We have a great need for prayer in the church, so we go to the prayer warriors and ask that they undertake the effort, since their passion is to pray for people.
- We have a great need for dollars for the children’s ministry, so we go to the good givers to undertake the effort, since they have already evidenced the spiritual muscle of giving.
- We are considering changing the format of Vacation Bible School. Before we do anything, we go to the VBS leaders for consultation about the change. After all, they have the investment.
- We are considering a large change in the budget, up or down. We go to the giving leaders to share information and ask their opinion before making a decision. After all, they have a big investment.
- We make sure to connect those in the church with a heart for outreach and mission—indeed, we make a committee out of them. That way, they can know they aren’t alone, and their shared purpose will keep them close to each other and constant in their work.
- We make sure to connect good givers with one another. That way they know who is on the team with them, and that shared sense of purpose will keep them close to each other and constant in their giving.
- We are sure to say a thank-you in the parking lot, or to have a pizza party for the youth group volunteers. We appreciate that God has given them the gift of caring about youth, and the will to use that gift in service of the mission.
- We are sure to say a personal thank-you, or to have some hot dogs over a bonfire, and appreciate that God has led some people to have the gift of generosity, and the will to use it in service of the mission.
I am in no way proposing that we should treat givers deferentially, or with kid gloves. What I am proposing is that we TREAT GIVING LEADERS AS LEADERS—NO MORE, NO LESS. To do that is to bring the same spiritual sense to the matter of money that we do to all other areas of our church’s life. Give it a try. You just might find a blessing in waiting.
If you want more ideas for support your stewardship and giving, contact your United Methodist Foundation here or by calling us toll free at 877-391-8811.
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Director of Development
United Methodist Foundation of Indiana