This morning I made a presentation to the church's strategy council. Actually, the church treasurer, church finance committee chair, and I made the presentation. I'm deeply grateful to them for making the time and having the passion for this presentation; I also appreciate the pastor inviting us to make the presentation.
What I said is that I view the three of us as the proverbial canaries in the coal mine - we're not shouting fire in a crowded theater but we are warning our colleagues and friends about the future of the church's finances.
My worst-case scenario is that in ten years we'll look back at 2006, 2007, and 2008 as the golden years. In ten years, at the present rate, we will have closed some of our ministries and laid off several staff. In ten years we'll begin survival mode.
Unless we increase the conversation about money things will get worse. We need to talk about tithing, stewardship and generosity on a regular basis from the pulpit, our website, and our written pieces. We also need to open up the ways that people who already want to give to us can give to us. We've put in barriers so that people can't give to us - shame!
Within two years we need to increase our revenues by $1 million (a 30% increase) in order just to sustain what we are currently doing. If we want to fund the dreams of the future, then we have to receive even more income. Let's talk about money - anytime you talk about something, two things will happen. Those who don't like what you're saying will leave and those who do like it will step up to the plate. If you don't talk about it, you're ignoring the gorilla in the room.
We have a very good church with very good leaders. But great dreams need great leadership. My request to my colleagues and fellow church members is that all of us need to step up our leadership. Yes, we will get shot at, but that is leadership - just ask the President of the US. We need to look beyond our past and gaze at our future. We need to set our sights on how we can lead (and fund) this church to greatness.