One of the most uncomfortable things I have to talk about as a pastor is money. I rarely get to talk about its abundance. Actually, I've never gotten to talk about its abundance. My subject is always scarcity. Once again its my responsibility to share with my congregation that we are suffering financially. As a pastor I want to talk about hope, love, grace and heaven. My favorite subjects, not necessarily in that order. Instead my hand is forced to talk about giving. You see the church doesn't sell a product. If we had any product to sell we would most likely give it away. That's what we do everyday. We give food, advice, prayer and sometimes money away for free. No strings attached. That's what God called us to do. We try to be faithful with the mission He has given us. The supply side of the supply/demand curve, since we don't have anything to sale, is God's people and their faithful giving. That's where things are breaking down.
We have approximately 900 families who make up our nearly 2700 members. Any guess as to how many of those families contribute to the ministry of the church; barely 55%. There are 400 families, more or less, out of the 900 who contribute nothing at all to the church. I've been challenged on that because people will say that alot of people give cash through the offering plate and there is no way to track that. That's true, but the amount of cash in the offering plate is so small compared to the offering as a whole, it is negligible. If those 400 families are giving through the offering plate then their amount is probably about $1.25 per week. To make matters worse about 50 of those families that were giving 2 years ago have not given this year or are giving much less. I'm told that amounts to about $315K a year. I don't know who these people are. I'm sure some have hit on difficult financial days. For those people the chucrh is here to help and pray with during these hard times.I have never looked at names, just numbers. So in 2011 we are projected to recieve about the same tithes and offerings as 2007. That's with over 1,000 new members in that same time frame.
It's clear that this can't keep going for long. I have always taught that people will give one time to a crisis, occassionally to a need, but consistently to a vision. As the senior pastor I can only assume I'm not casting the vision clear enough. I have learned in my own life that you cannot out give God. Unfortunatley, I have not been able to get that truth across to about 45% of the church God has called me to lead.
So there it is. I've talked about giving. I will bring these same facts to the church on Sunday. Pray with me that people are obedient to the Lord.