I gave a report Tuesday to the denominational mid-council I serve about How Rich We Are as The Church. This automatically brought forth a flood of “tell us more” requests. Here’s the truth: Free Money is not for everyone.
We have congregations that want all the usual things:
- Young people!
- More young people!
But let me tell you who gets money for ministry:
- People who are energized to go where the Spirit of God is leading them. This means achieving the kind of growth that we never imagined. This means serving broken people of every age.
- Congregations partnering with other congregations to do ministry together because this isn’t about Our Particular Church Doing A Good Thing For the Community.
- Servant Leaders who are teaching people to follow Jesus.
- Churches unafraid to move. Maybe God is telling your church to relocate geographically. Maybe God is telling your church to relocate missionally. Maybe God is telling you to get out of the pews and out into the neighborhood. Not moving = No funding for new ministries.
The money “out there for ministry” requires deep discernment and prayer before we are ready for it. I have no interest in helping congregations get grants for technical changes (e.g. new church sign, new paint job.) Congregations can and should have enormous impact without fresh paint. (Note: if you need a sprinkler system before you can open your preschool for low-income children, this is different.)
There is money for congregations excited about adaptive change: culture shifts from “getting people to church” to “being the church.”
As I shared last Tuesday, former Moderator of the 206th General Assembly Bob Bohl once told this story: He was leading a Session meeting surrounded by elders wringing their hands because the church budget was flat and giving was down. One elder said, “If only someone would die and give us all we need.” And Rev. Bohl said, “Somebody has.”
We are rich as the Church of Jesus Christ. If we are authentically and selflessly doing God’s work in the world, there is funding out there to do more.
Happy Memorial Day Weekend, Everyone.