Although we all need electricity, HVAC, and water, they aren’t fun expenses. The same goes for church properties. It’s more fun to know that our financial donations are going to building a hospital in Honduras or sending kids to camp rather than replacing the carpet in the church parlor or increasing the Pastor’s salary . . .
. . . unless we see all our donations as an investment in the future of God’s reign on earth.
At last week’s gathering to talk about Yancey Stricklers book This Could Be Our Future: A Manifesto for a More Generous World * someone said simply, “investment is a good word.” Yes. It’s a good word and it better expresses why we share our financial offerings with our congregations (and other non-profits.)
We are making an investment in people, in projects, in tools for ministry for the sake of making earth a little more like heaven to the glory of God.
- PEOPLE – We want the best possible people on staff who will equip others to teach, lead, sing, visit, and make community happen. We want them to know we appreciate them, especially during a pandemic.
- PROJECTS – We want to love God and our neighbors as ourselves by feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, serving the poor, sharing what Jesus said. We hope to love as lavishly as God loves us.
- TOOLS – The only reason to have a church building is to use it as a tool for ministry and it needs to be safe, clean, and open. Better to keep our tools in good shape now rather than having to replace them later at a much higher cost.)
Likewise, our Presbytery (the mid-councils in my denomination) invest in congregations so that they can provide effective ministry. We grant funds for churches to buy freezers (so that their food pantry can provide meat and cheese.) We grant funds for churches to start after-school programs (so that neighborhood kids have a safe place to do their homework and play.) We grant funds for churches to upgrade their microphones, screens, and technological capacity (so that they can offer hybrid worship.) Important qualification: we only invest money in congregations who invest in their communities and beyond.
Investment is a good word. As the 2022 budgeting process begins in the coming weeks/months, how does your congregation hope to invest in the future?
*The second and last Yancey Strickler conversation is this Thursday at noon ET. Join us! https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82510465313?pwd=UDhvVWhQd1dMRmF3U2V3cGFvc1BMQT09
Meeting ID: 825 1046 5313