For three years Adrienne has been giving $60 each week to her church family. We are thankful for such people. Then one day we discover that Adrienne left us a check for $1,000. How would your church respond? First of all, you should respond. If that means the financial secretary must tell the pastor, then so be it. What has happened in Adrienne’s life? Has she awakened to a burst of spiritual joy that she never had before? Did she lose an uncle she loved who left her part of his estate? Did she receive a settlement for an injury she is dealing with? Has she received a promotion at work? Did she sell her house to downsize and change locations?

Thomas, on the other hand, has reduced his giving from $60 per week to almost zero. What is going on here? Did he lose his job? Has he suffered a loss in investments that will take time from which to recover? Will his money need to be re-routed to one of his children’s legal bills? Is Thomas feeling less a part of the church family than he did before? Has Thomas had a drastic medical prognosis and is fearful for the future?

When people change their giving, they are telling you something has changed in them. Almost always that change signals a prime time for ministry. When the giving changes, the story has changed. Our task as Christian leaders is to discover that story and walk in it with them—whether in celebration or in suffering.

Our Foundation has many good resources for stewarding our stewards. Give us a call, and we will partner with you in strengthening your ministry in this area. You can reach us at ghowell@umfindiana.org or 317-788-7879.

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Glenn Howell
Director of Development
United Methodist Foundation of Indiana

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and visit my blog at Firm Foundations

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