I was talking church finances with a group of ministers a few weeks ago. One asked me what our members need to hear more of in order to “get them to give more.” It wouldn’t have been my choice of words, but you get a feel for where this conversation was going.
Those of you who read this blog with some regularity will not be surprised to know that I responded that we should lift up all the great things that happen with apportionment dollars and stop portraying it as a tax paid to the Bishop. Then I thought for a moment and corrected “apportionments” with “shared ministry funding.” I am sooo last decade.
He generally agreed with what I was saying, but had no idea how to get that information. “How do I find out where all that money is going and what is being done with it?” I got the feeling I had convinced him, now it was a matter of getting him connected.
There are several wonderful resources available (and by the way, your shared ministry dollars are paying for them, so you might as well use the dang things).
First, you already have a great deal of that information in your Annual Conference materials. Remember when we passed that budget or were you eating ice cream at the Patio? It has gives a great overview of Conference finances.
Second, get in touch with Jessica Vargo, our Conference Treasurer. She and her team of interpreters will come to your church and discuss the church’s work. It’s probably too late to get one of these great speakers scheduled for later this fall, but get them on the calendar for the spring, or even plan ahead to have one in the fall of 2011.
Jessica’s office also has a great printed piece that talks about where your shared ministry dollars go. It’s designed as a bulletin insert. If you believe your sermons are way too captivating for anyone to want to read this in worship you can include it in a newsletter or even some of your mailed stewardship information. And if you were to have a mail stop campaign to talk church finances you would certainly want to include this.
Make sure you are getting all of the electronic information that’s available to you.
I imagine most of you receive the Conference E-news and Stewardship E-news. If not, send an email to Lois Speelman and get registered.
The United Methodist Giving website is a great place to get started for topical stories about how your church’s financial support is changing the world.
United Methodist Communications provides current news articles by email. They generally do about three features a day, and you can choose to receive them once a day or once a week. Just go on line to register.
Once you get this information, don’t keep it to yourself. Include a 90 second version every week during worship. Post a selected link on your church’s Facebook page or in your weekly email broadcasts.
Younger generations (you know, the people you’re trying to reach) have shown researchers that they don’t want to give to support bureuacracies and institutions, they want to change lives. The good news is that the United Methodist Church is already doing this. I say we let ’em know what we’re doing.