Come now, stewardship folk, let us talk together

I spend a lot of my time talking to others about the importance of them talking to others about stewardship, generosity, and giving. It’s less often, however, that I have opportunity to talk with a kindred spirit about these topics. That’s why I make a point of scheduling time with fundraiser friends. Apparently I’m not […]

Yes, Virginia, there is a generosity gene.

If you’ve sat through years of really bad stewardship sermons, you’ve likely been urged to “give until it hurts.” But now we learn that the adage isn’t just bad theology. It’s also bad biology. That’s the conclusion of science writer Elizabeth Svoboda based on her review of the burgeoning research into altruistic behavior.  In an […]

The ongoing case of the shrinking offering plate

If you’re associated with one of the hundreds, yeah thousands, of faith-based nonprofits that are eyeing churches as a source of new or increased gifts, I bring you sad tidings. This just in from the Empty Tomb, a Christian research group. Congregational giving has declined for a fourth consecutive years, dropping by a tenth of […]

Proud mama keep on bragging

Whenever two or more parents of young adult children gather, there’s sure to be bragging in their midst. A great promotion, super cute baby, new house, latest degree. Almost anything can get a proud parent talking. Been there. Done that. I confess. There’s a topic, however, that doesn’t get much brag-time. It’s the giving habits […]

A challenge to pastors: embrace the ministry of fundraising

Over the years, I’ve sat through hundreds of prospect review sessions where the giving records of faithful supporters are analyzed down to the dollar. Bumps in giving are cheered, declines worried over, and the next ask planned with care. No one frets that donor files are regularly reviewed by the “right” people. Information is, after […]

Speaking of money in church

The spring issue of Leadership Journal had me with the cover and then continued to reel me in with article after article on two of my favorite topics – money and ministry. I could have done without the tagline, “Funding your ministry without losing your soul.” But I understand the editors’ dilemma. It’s likely the […]

Debtors don’t donors make, unless . . .

It’s commencement season on college and university campuses across America. That wonderful time of year when starry-eyed graduates march into life to the strains of Pomp and Circumstance, diplomas in hand, dreams in their hearts, and a dark cloud of debt over their heads. Sorry for raining on the graduation parade with my mention of […]

Driving the luddites out of the temple

To say that the congregation with which I worship is late to the technological revolution is an understatement. We’ve been one projector short for weeks and no one seems to notice the blank screen on the left. The church’s website is difficult to navigate. Our Facebook page has racked up a grand total of 15 […]

Don’t let your church be a casualty in the offering wars

Move over worship wars. There’s a new battle brewing in North America’s churches, this one focused on the Sunday morning offering. Fewer of the faithful carry cash these days, and for younger worshipers, writing a check is as old school (and annoying) as email. But tradition dies hard. Stewardship stalwarts cling to their collection plates […]

Damned if you tithe and damned if you don’t

Lost in the kerfuffle over Mitt Romney’s tax returns is a sorry story about how Americans’ (including good church folks) have come to think about charitable giving. When a family of limited means is faithful in tithing a full 10 percent, we cheer. Nothing beats a good widow and her mite story for warming hearts. […]