Could it be that your church’s governance is hurting it’s own mission? Most United Methodist churches are structured according to the Book of Discipline (¶243-258), and most churches struggle filling a slew committee positions. Some churches seem to have about as many positions as they do members. You end up wasting a lot of time and energy trying to fill positions where about half the people don’t want to serve. The good news is there is an exception. Instead of 50+ positions to fill, you might only need 12.
Kermit Culver, leads a discussion on how the traditional structure is holding many churches back. He was one of the first to pioneer the Simple Board Governance solution in the Dakotas UMC.
Hopefully this is timely and helpful for any church struggling financially. Here’s the bad news: There is no silver bullet when it comes to raising up generous givers. If your church is struggling financially, there is no quick fix. There is a strong spiritual element connected to our relationship with money…and practically nothing happens quickly in the spiritual world. Even when you first came to faith, for how many years were people praying for you and planting seeds in your life?
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do anything…just don’t expect an immediate turnaround. First of all, there needs to be the right conditions within the church to grow generous givers. Has leadership proven themselves trustworthy? Do they have a clear idea of where the church needs to go (i.e. their mission)?
The next thing is to give attention to these six areas: 1)Engaging; 2)Inspiring; 3)Teaching; 4)Asking; 5)Thanking; and 6)Reporting. There’s no fixed schedule. All areas need attention…especially the areas where you are weakest. In this webinar, Sheri Meister and I share the principles of each area as well as some practical steps the church can take.
I decided that every tenth post/video would be on Stewardship Education. I realize that the title of this post and the picture probably don’t make you think, “I bet this an educational video.” One thing I run into over and over again is pastors and church leaders being afraid of preaching on money, giving, and stewardship. It’s almost always churches that struggle financially that are afraid to talk about giving…because it might hurt their finances. You never hear this from a church that is financially strong. They don’t see the connection between their financial struggles and their avoidance of teaching on money and giving.
I’m convinced that these leaders, while trying not to appear greedy or money grubbing, are robbing their church. They are robbing their churches in two ways: 1)their church will be robbed of the resources to better carry out the mission; and 2)their people will be robbed of much joy and closeness to Jesus that comes from being able to trust the Lord with your finances. This video delves into it more:
This was from a training that I did in the Fall of 2019 for United Methodist churches in Southeastern South Dakota. While most finance committees focus on reviewing reports and looking at cutting expenses, some are making a huge impact in helping their churches succeed. They are growing the church’s income, improving operations/decision making, and much more.
How are they making such an impact? The gist is, they staff the finance committee with the right people and set goals. It’s not that complex. I also give some ideas on how to fix the income problem, reporting, auditing, and budgeting. Enjoy!
The Finance Committee is often the least appreciated committee in the church. Pastors and program staff/committees complain because the Finance Committee is always quick to raise concerns. But here’s the deal, the Finance Committee is like the brakes, and the Programs/Pastors are like the gas pedal. Just try driving a car without a brake AND gas pedal.
For people going onto the Finance Committee, they need to have a strong understanding of the church’s vision. That should be the primary qualification…not banking or accounting experience. The Finance Committee should also have goals for how they are helping the church fulfill that vision.
Sheri Meister and I walk through ideas on how to make your church’s Finance Committee beloved instead of berated.