It is the time of year when churches that have stewardship campaigns are working to find pledges to meet next year’s budget. As I was rereading Ministry Loves Company (by John Galloway, Jr.), I found his chapter “vision follows money” to be a good reflection of how I feel about this time of the year. Too many times, we allow the money that is pledged to determine our vision, rather than our vision to lead us. It is the author’s contention that money follows vision.
As leaders, we must cast the vision and allow for God to provide the money to meet that vision. Another point the author mentions (and I will implement this year) is to drop the word “pledge” and replace it with “estimate of giving.” Budgeting is not an exact science and the word “estimate” means no one is locked in. If the person’s situation changes for the worse, they are not forced to feel guilty if they can’t make their estimate. However, should their situation improve, they are able to give more, sometimes much more.
If we are to be the church God wants, we need to focus on mission and make that the key part of our stewardship campaign. Don’t get me wrong, we need to pay the electricity, the insurance, and of course the preacher! The thing is, we need to major on what is the most important for the kingdom—missions. It is up to the leaders in the church to make this a priority in their own lives if we ever expect the people in the pew to feel the same way.
So, what does your church do when the pledges don’t meet the budget? Is mission’s giving the first casualty? Please, let’s all take a stand this year to make missions the priority it should be. Trust me, it will make all the difference.