Soon the holidays will be upon us. Thanksgiving leads to Advent, which brings us to a blessed Christmas Eve, which ushers in the high holy day of Christmas. I suspect that, even with Covid-19, it will be a time of good will and good food. There is lots to do, but any stress is matched by the joy of the season.
This is also the time to make a good ending to our financial year. It is a time to say “well done” to our givers. This can happen in a few ways. First, the pastor or trusted leaders call the stronger givers. Note, I didn’t say just the largest givers, but you should include them. In that call we thank them for being faithful to God in their giving. To God. We share how much our ministry benefits from people like them. We wish them a blessed Christmas. It can be a short call.
Second, we send a statement to our attenders—their record of giving thus far for 2020—in late November or first of December. Please do not send a form only. Include a letter of appreciation, whether they have fulfilled their pledge or not. Thank them for what they have done on behalf of Christ’s mission and ministry. We include a short story of some person who has a better life because of our ministry. We share the last date for recording gifts on the 2020 tax year. We do not tell them what they still “owe.” They can do the math. Often people voluntarily catch up their giving at year end.
Finally, in worship we share one or two stories of great ministry we did through the past year. It could be something we did in the Covid-19 crisis. Perhaps we built a Habitat house. We share about the teenager who came to our youth overnight, and now is coming to Sunday School. At the end of the story we thank the congregation for their generosity in making the world a more Christ-like place in 2020.
The point is that we want to affirm people for their giving. Also, since December is the highest giving month of the year, we want to make sure they know the good work the Lord is doing in their church. If they are feeling extra gratitude, they will naturally be more generous this time of year.
Never be afraid to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” If it was good enough for Jesus it is good enough for us.
For support with your church’s stewardship and giving development, contact your United Methodist Foundation here or 877-391-8811.
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Director of Development
United Methodist Foundation of Indiana