How generosity and pastoral care are linked

September 14th, 2021

A major challenge facing the church is the growth of nonprofit charities. These organizations do much good in our communities, but the competition for the charitable dollar is fierce. How can the local church compete with universities, hospitals, and hundreds of worthy nonprofits when many of them have over ten, twenty, or even a hundred full-time fund-raising staff? Most churches have volunteers or part-time staffing for fundraising needs. The lack of trained leadership will be a growing challenge for the church.

How then can we preach and teach “certain faith in uncertain times” in a financially competitive culture? This task is challenging but essential in turning fear into deeper faith and trust. Many churches are struggling to simply maintain their ministry budgets and increase giving to mission. There has been a seismic shift in donor attitudes.

Giving will remain low and limited unless we address this challenge directly. How can leaders develop a fresh donor-based teaching approach to grow the needs ofa congregation’s personal confidence in giving? Let’s begin by identifying some of the church’s growing competition for the charitable dollar.
Leaders Honor Their Donors

How do we clearly communicate the financial stewardship message when our members are already overloaded with an avalanche of requests for giving? We get as many requests in a week compared to what our parents previously got in a year.

Add daily e-mail and web-based marketing requests for giving and we all feel overwhelmed.
Donors are fatigued by so many requests. How can the church better minister to the financial fears of our members? We can provide support to our members. This is the most important pastoral role of the
church! The pastoral challenge is how to best relate to the donor’s fears and needs.

People long to hear ways to improve their financial situation. Here are the top five financial fears facing all of us:
1. Fear of losing our financial security
2. Fear of outliving our income, savings, and social security
3. Fear of escalating medical costs
4. Fear of increasing tax burden
5. Fear of not being able to support church and charity needs

Leadership that addresses these fears through relevant preaching and teaching will help people grow in faith through economic and personal financial uncertainty. How do we bring the dilemma of the church’s needs and the donor’s fears together in a way that best serves God’s greater good? We can address these challenges in creativenew ways. We can and must help our members become better stewards of their financial resources so that they can become generous givers.

Available from Cokesbury

The Pastoral Care Challenge Affects Giving
We need clear expectations about excellent care by pastors and congregational care lay ministers. The following ten suggestions can help improve your pastoral care challenge to recognize financial fears, with opportunities for new ministry:

  1. Develop new ministry and mission opportunities that attract and involve those over the age of fifty.
  2. Assist members as they seek ways to give financially at any level. Help them find the joy of generosity.
  3. Offer encouragement, financial coaching, and other learning opportunities to those needing help with personal financial management.
  4. Invite members and others to share their stories of giving that changed lives.
  5. Provide pastoral care to those going through personal loss or financial difficulty. In most cases, exclude them from any financial appeals of the church during this time.
  6. Be sure to practice confidentiality at all times. Some members prefer to give anonymously and appreciate opportunities to give to needs of the church. Nurture those relationships.
  7. Encourage members to plan legacy gifts with the help of the church’s planned giving ministry. Help donors fulfill their dreams.
  8. Inform members of the ways in which memorial gifts can honor their loved ones and provide vital needs for the church’s ministry and mission.
  9. Be sensitive, caring, and considerate of those seeking ways to make a difference through generosity and joy. This is especially true for nurturing major donors.
  10. Develop a three-year plan to add staff and volunteers to enhance your stewardship and generosity ministry. This strategic planning is the first step, not the last, in meeting pastoral challenges for the church in the midst of disruptions that produce so much anxiety.

Now, more than ever before, expertise in financial stewardship ministry is needed. Stewardship and generosity ministry can become a greater priority in your congregation. Volunteer and staff leadership can be developed. The joy of giving can be contagious for growth in ministry and mission. Excellence in pastoral care can nurture the culture of generosity year after year.

This article is an excerpt from the first chapter of Propel: Good Stewardship, Greater Generosity by Clayton Smith.

comments powered by Disqus