We have all been in a meeting where someone shares the well-worn idea, “If we divide the amount we need by the number of our members we will know how much everyone should give.” That statement makes organizational sense. It makes easy accounting sense. It just doesn’t make much spiritual sense.

Let’s pretend we have a budget of $100,000 and 100 attendees each Sunday. It would be easy to say that if every person gave $1,000 the budget would be met. That sounds like a golf club where the budget is divided by the membership and each is assessed dues. Let’s look further at this logic.

The children’s classes need to be taught each week of the year. Do we divide the teaching Sundays into the members and assign each person the Sundays they are supposed to teach our children?

The grass needs cut. Do we divide the grass mowings into the membership and assess each person an equal number of times they must mow the church lawn?

Worship needs music. Do we divide the number of solos into the membership and delegate an equal number of Sundays to each member for solos? Lord, help us!

All this reflects the truth that money has become something disconnected from faith and operates by a different set of rules. Why is it we don’t think about finances the same way we think about everything else—that is, spiritually? I’ll grant you, we want everyone to give. However, there are people with more capacity to give and more passion to give. They are our giving leaders. Churches have prayer leaders, worship leaders, children’s leaders, and giving leaders. Feel free to treat them all the same way.

If anything is going to be equal, let it be the intention, the sacrifice, and the amount of prayer that went into deciding the size of the gift. The amounts will never be equal because the body of Christ was made to reflect the differing abilities and gifts within it. That is the gospel.


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Glenn Howell
Director of Development
United Methodist Foundation of Indiana

 

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