A while back a good Christian asked me how she might best support her pastor in the area of stewardship and giving. As a pastor myself, it gave me a chance to remember so many good folks who helped me along the way. Below are five good ways to help your pastor in the area of stewardship and finance.
Laity need to support the pastor’s role in stewardship. Too often pastors hear, “We don’t want any money talk.” That sentiment is justified when the “money talk” is about guilt and negativity—none of us need that! However, stewardship is one of the most important themes of the Bible. On top of that, the church needs financial gifts to achieve its mission. When a pastor goes too long without talking about stewardship, remind them. When they do talk about it, encourage them.
Laity can share stories from the congregation. Anytime there is a success story it is good to let the pastor know. After all, the church is in the business of changing lives and transforming the world. Whenever a pastor can share a story in a sermon or before an offering, it reminds people they are part of a winning cause—not a sinking ship. People support winning causes.
Laity can thank the pastor for his or her giving. Often pastors are among the highest givers in the congregation. Since pastors move from congregation to congregation one might think they would be among the least invested in giving. Additionally, they spend all their working hours supporting the church. Yet, most pastors don’t take a pass. They give generously. Once in a while say, “Pastor, I am glad you give, too.” Or perhaps, “Pastor, knowing you give encourages me.”
Laity can support and encourage other laity to be good stewards. Share your own struggles and victories of being a good steward. Do not be afraid to remind folks to be accountable to their commitment to God. Talk positively about the work of the church. When financial trials arise remind them you intend to be part of the solution—not part of the problem.
Finally, laity can remember the church in their end-of-life planning. As you have given in life, plan to give in your death. Let your pastor and finance team know you will be giving something. Be as specific in sharing as you can (obviously, amounts of estates change). This will strengthen the heart of your pastor and serve as an example to others. It is easier to work day-to-day when you know there is a strong future coming.
Great laity make great churches. They have a joyful commitment to their church. They also know that pastors need their leadership and support for the church to do its job. Let us all keep doing our part in making disciples of Christ for the transformation of the world.
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