If the church leadership team (priest, PCC, etc.) is not fully committed to the stewardship renewal, then it is unlikely to succeed. What sorts of reasons might lie behind people's resistance to the idea of a stewardship renewal?
There may be an understandable reluctance to ask for more from people who are already giving generously.
In most churches, the majority are not already giving as much as they can. There has been a slow improvement, but the majority give less to their church each week than they spend on a gallon of petrol, a couple of drinks or a daily newspaper. Those who are already giving generously will be doing so because they have prayerfully considered their giving, and are probably the least likely to be offended by a request for every church member to do the same! Certainly, their generosity should not stop you raising the subject with everyone else.
On the other hand, it is possible to send a different kind of letter to these generous givers. People do like to be kept in the loop, so it's not a good idea to miss them altogether from the list of recipients. But for people whose giving you really feel is already so great that you cannot possibly ask them for more, or for those who have recently joined the parish giving scheme or who regularly increase their giving without prompting, you could send the literature with a letter of thanks for their existing support, instead of the letter that goes to most other church members. You might even say explicitly that you don't want to exclude them from something that the rest of the church is receiving, so you're simply sending them a copy of the details that everyone else will receive.
There may be discomfort about the idea of the parish priest asking his or her congregation for money.
It is important to separate the roles of the church officers or other lay leaders from the role of the clergy. The priest's role in this context is to lead prayer and worship and to increase the congregation's understanding. Stewardship involves a Biblical understanding of God's sovereignty over our money as much as over any other area of our lives: we need to be converted not just in our hearts and minds but also in our wallets! The priest's leadership and teaching in this area is crucial, but others in the leadership team (e.g. church officers) will be the ones who actually ask people to review their giving.
There may be a justifiable embarrassment about the number of times that the church holds out its begging bowl.
It is true that the church's profile in the community may be characterised more by its financial appeals than by its mission and ministry. Even the social and mission opportunities that come from church fetes and other community events can be squandered when it's obvious that fundraising is the real motivation behind these events.
There is a difference between holding out a begging bowl to the community and talking to church members about money. The Bible itself talks rather a lot about money. Quite a number of Jesus' parables were about stewardship. This Biblical emphasis recognises the central position that money holds in many people's lives. The conversion of the wallet involves a new understanding that security does not come from the amount in our bank accounts, and our value in God's eyes is not increased by the size or quality of our cars, houses, holidays or other material possessions. Congregations need to understand that our giving is to God, out of what he gives us, and that he is the only true source of our security. If church members have a Biblical understanding of stewardship, and their giving is funding the church's running costs, then the church is freed from the need to hold out a begging bowl to the wider community (except for specific, one-off projects) and can concentrate on its mission and ministry.
This is discouraging and dispiriting for all who were involved. Please see the next help tool to explore this area in more detail.
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