Tell them where it goes

Imagine it’s early December and the avalanche of end of the year fund raising letters arrives in the mail.  For some unknown reason you decide to actually open one of them.  The letter reads:

“Use the enclosed envelope to send us your contribution.  Remember to put a stamp on it before you send it.”

And that’s all it says.  How deep are you going to dig?

The other letters talk about the mission of the organizations, how they change lives, what they do with the money, their vision for the future, the work they do.

The next time you introduce the offering during worship by standing up and saying “Would the ushers come forward to receive our gifts and our tithes” remember that letter at Christmas.

I realize our culture says we have to have our worship completed in 60 minutes so the Presbyterians don’t get the good tables at Perkins, but I encourage you take a minute and highlight the good work that the money in the offering plate does.

The best offering intro I ever heard went something like this:

Yesterday 27 youth from this church spent the day volunteering at Nehemiah Mission in downtown Cleveland and on Wednesday night, another 11 volunteers helped feed 200 people through our food ministry.  But these projects were done not only by the 38 obvious volunteers, but by everyone who financially supports this church.  This morning you have the opporunity to continue supporting important projects like this through your gifts and your tithes.”

As they say, “That’ll preach.”

I encourage you to use examples from your local church as well as the work UMCOR does during disasters, missionaries do around the world, even what the pastor does with his congregation.  I see nothing wrong with “Last week I finished a six-week counseling session with a couple that was having problems.  Thanks to the support of this church, this couple is working on their marriage rather than filing for divorce.  This is the third such couple I have worked with in the last two years.”

Regular readers of this blog are probably getting tired of hearing me say you need to connect dollars in the plate with lives tha have been changed, and this is an easy way to do that.  And an extra minute or less won’t give the Presbyterians the last table at Perkins.

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