Monday, May 17, 2010

Change on the Ground

In an earlier blog, I referenced that a predictor of the economy is the amount of loose change you can find on the ground. Good news - in the past two weeks I've found 36 cents! (a quarter, a dime, and a penny)

Does this indicate the economic turnaround is here? Does indicate I've got good eyes? Does this indicate people are careless with loose change? Does this indicate I've got good luck in looking down at the right time? All of the above is the answer - probably more dumb luck than anything!

Lead On!


I heard it last week from my financial assistant: of the reported revenues for the prior week (total of $56,000), around $29,000 came in the offering plate. That means that about $27,000 came to the church outside the offering plate: in stocks, online gifts, mailed in offerings, etc. This is a change: for years churches felt that the offering plate was their primary source of revenues. Well, I can document that as of last week, things are noticably changing - only 52% came in the offering plate.

That is huge for churches. Church financial leadership must understand that the way of giving and supporting church work has already changed. If churches are not on the "change bandwagon," then they are leaving some financial gifts "on the table" and not in their offering plates.

So, what are you doing to facilitate giving to your church? Are you making it easy for people to give in new ways? Or are you still relying on the offering plate to provide 100% of your revenues?

Lead On!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Book Review

Just finished reading "The New Context for Ministry: Competing for the Charitable Dollar" by Lyle Schaller. He wrote this at the end of 2001 and it was published in early 2002. In the book, especially in the last handful of chapters he makes some predications about the future of church economics. It is uncanny how accurate he was and is.

Schaller gives all churches (and non-profits) a warning shot across the bow about the way they've always done church finances versus the new economy and how they need to re-shape their church's finances. It is also hard to acknowledge that the church is not prepared for the future. What is worse, is that no one seems concerned about the future enough to do anything about it.

About once a year someone pulls the fire alarm in my church. It is always a false alarm. Everyone knows it is a false alarm. So, no one moves the exit; no one gets the kids out of the building; no one runs to investigate the source of the alarm. In this book, Schaller is pulling the fire alarm for churches because there is a real fire. Unfortunately, churches believe that "God will provide" the financial resources they need. Well, God will but the church must actively work and search for it.

I recommend the book (even though it is not particularly readable) with an emphasis on his recommendations at the end of the book.

Lead On!