It’s Sad To Be Saying This Now!

Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

In an article titled, “Six Ways Your Church Can Prepare for the “Great Giving Reshuffle,” [1] the author’s third suggestion is rather telling and odious.  It reveals what has happened within many a ministry and with local churches. It is a sad commentary on how wrong-headed the thinking continues to be — in this case, by the article’s author writing for ministry leaders. 

 

“Emerging indicators signal a change in giving patterns in the last half of 2022. If financial giving is reordered, how would you lead your ministry with less financial resources?

How can you prepare for and thrive when a giving reshuffle occurs? 

Here are six ways you can prepare:

3. Care for the souls of your people more now than ever. 

People are no less interested in your mission but are more eager to be part of an active community, especially a community that engages the emotional, spiritual, and family aspects of life. Core givers will dutifully give from a sense of obedience and loyalty. White-hot giving happens when a heart and mind sense authentic faith embedded in a life-giving, worth-it-all mission. 

The more your congregation knows you love them, care for them, and desire their best above all else – the more their giving will prioritize your church and mission.  

The trending word for this is attunement. Attunement means being aware and shepherding the soul in needs, wants, emotions, and personal pain when that pain comes. For the last decade, the primary emphasis has been on leadership. Yet, that leadership focus might have been skinny on the pastoral care side. [1]

 

“More now than ever” — really!  When finances are at stake, not when a ministry or church was doing well, but now — when the dollars might run out — care for people more now than ever!

As I have often said, the last argument made to a ministry or local church is $$$$.  When the giving is no longer sufficient to cover the costs of operation — salaries, benefits, utilities, programs, and maintenance — leadership begins to listen.  Then leadership gets curious as to what is happening and why.  Some things finally begin changing.  

Before being forced to care for the friends and members of the ministry, look for these attempts to advert that potential necessity — that of “caring for your people more now than ever”. . . . 

  • Church programs are canceled — After all, “the church is not about programs, but people.”  As if programs are not an organized way to minister to and meet people.  
  • Surviving church programs are financially restructured, attenuated, or abused [2] — “This year there will be a charge of $5.00 for the men’s prayer breakfast.”  As if having men attend a prayer breakfast is not something worth investing in — since we say that prayer matters.  Beyond that, if the cost of 20 – 50 people meeting for a prayer breakfast will make a difference in church finances, it really is time to close the doors.
  • Staff Changes Begin To Be Considered & Take Place: The most recent usually go first, unless someone is close to retirement, is ill-preforming in the role they are in, or no longer makes a difference.  The last to turn the lights off will be the Sr. Pastor or Ministry Head.
  • An Austerity Program Is Instituted:  It is not that anyone failed to care for the people — you do realize that! We are merely living in difficult days!  We need to be more frugal and careful.  Let’s turn off the lights, put off maintenance, use the church vehicles less, put off raises (at least for those under the most senior leadership members), turn the air conditioning down, and/or run a little cooler in the winter.

There is a great financial giving reshuffle [3] regarding church finances with many a ministry across America.[4]  No, not all because some did not need to “care for their people more now than ever.”  They were caring throughout the years of ministry (and through the Covid-19 pandemic ).  With some, finances were never the motivation for caring, or caring more!!

What has been obvious and shameful is actually being said publicly — to pastors and ministries — because that’s where we are — over two years late in caring about the “family!”

The article says what many would never say or admit, that too many ministries are about money, and caring is secondary.

How many?  
Don’t know — but the breadth and influence of Carey Nieuwhof’s audience may be a woeful indicator!

Caring becomes necessary when the finances get rough!

When the ship starts taking on water,
then it’s time to care about the passengers who can help bail you out!

^

Does Anyone Else Feel That People Are Being Used!?

^



1. https://careynieuwhof.com/six-ways-your-church-can-prepare-for-the-great-giving-reshuffle/

2. Other Ministry Income Is Used:  Income generated by other ministries, such as a Christian school,  VBS offerings, missions giving*, or other adjunct church programs, will be used in unclear or subtle ways to keep things running. 

* For instance, monies designated for missions will still be applied to missions, but in place of the general fund giving that was typically used.

3. I Don’t want to say, “I told you so,” but I did.  Over a year ago, I wrote a blog stating that giving was a lagging indicator of how well a ministry was doing in caring for its people through the pandemic!  

4. Some people need to make “the last argument” when it comes to the ministry that they have been supporting.  They need to stop giving to irresponsible ministries and churches, reshuffle their giving to other ministries that have never stopped caring, and never let $$ be a motivation for “caring more!”  Don’t stop  giving, but decide that it is time to make better choices as to whom and where you give!

3 thoughts on “It’s Sad To Be Saying This Now!

  1. A very telling and somber blog!

    “When the starts taking on water, then it’s time to care about the passengers who can help bail you out!”

    … I dare say that’s when you may even see them caring even LESS about the passengers, and throwing more overboard!

    I’ve never been on fully on board with Mosaic, but I feel now more than ever, it may be time for them to rethink the thousands and thousands of dollars that goes toward that ministry. And it is a ministry. It is not a self sustaining church. And because it is not, and have not been able to accomplish that over these many, many years, that may be the “loss” that gives FBC a few more years.

    To be clear, had they been better stewards of their flock and their finances, they wouldn’t have to look anywhere to cut corners!! IMO.

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