Whether you are beginning your stewardship focus now or planning for the future, Howard Anderson offered some valuable insights for church leaders on how to lead in stewardship in Thursday’s teleconference.
He suggested “The deepest underlying issue I’ve found as I’ve worked with clergy on this is they think in asking for money, they’re taking something away from the parishioner.” He told the story of one of his earliest mentors in this, a woman of means whom he was approaching about a gift. She said to him, “Howard, listen to me. You are not taking anything from me. I have been richly blessed in every way, and you are giving me a chance to say thanks be to God for all I’ve been given. Don’t ever think when you’re asking for money to serve Christ’s church and to serve the broken world that you’re taking something from me.” He added, “We get very confused between God’s economy and the world’s economy. In the world’s economy there’s never enough, and when you’re asking for money you’re taking something. In God’s economy there’s always enough.”
He also talked about the importance of clergy tithing, or moving toward a tithe, and telling the congregation you are doing this. He only has people on the vestry (board) who are also willing to tithe, or commit to gradually moving toward a tithe. Regarding clergy knowing who gives and how much, he said “It’s absolutely essential, you are irresponsible not to know. If someone’s giving 100 a month, 100 a month, then zip, zip, you’d better be calling on them – something’s wrong. One of the best spiritual indicators is people’s giving patterns. My experience is also this–the people who are the crabs, the grumps, the people that fight you at every turn; they might be very affluent, and everybody defers to them, but you’re going to find about 90% of the time those crabby people who have resources are not generous, and so you are freed up to do the right thing.”
The recording of the teleconference is available. E-mail me at Margaret@margaretmarcuson.com, and I’ll send you the link.