Twenty years ago donations to religion made up 60% of all charitable giving. Today it’s about half that. Dr. J. Clif Christopher says the church is being left in the dust by other non-profits – and we’re in need of a big turn-around. But during our interview he not only outlined the causes (and our failures) – but gives great advice about what we need to do to recover.
I first heard of Dr. Christopher when our mutual friend Kristine Miller gave me a copy of Not Your Parent’s Offering Plate. I was challenged, provoked, and finally passed it on to my church board to read. It is changing the way I look at money – and may change your outlook as well.(Program Note: I ran into technical difficulties recording the interview – my image is freeze-framed throughout – so you may like the Mp3 version better.)
Watch the Full Interview Here:
Rather Listen? Click here for the Mp3
If the number one reason people give to charity is because they believe in the mission, Dr. Christopher says giving to churches has dropped primarily because we’re doing a poor job of articulating our mission. I was especially enlightened when he talked about the clergy’s role in improving congregational stewardship.Here are my notes from the interview:You Have Not Because You Ask Not
Churches do a terrible job of asking for money. Sure, we all know the excuses – ‘the sacraments are not for sale’ and, ‘don’t pastor the money,’ and ‘it’s the church board’s job’ etc. But Dr. Christopher says these are just excuses for failing to consider more deeply the depth and breadth of our mission.What Mission?
Most church members have no idea what their congregation’s mission is – yet this is the key to improving stewardship. Dr. Christopher says churches need to be clear, focused, direct, and repetitive to make sure the mission is persuasive, shared, and understood. They also need to know their mission is not to balance the books.It Starts at the Top
Stewardship will not improve unless the pastor’s financial life is healthy. Dr. Christopher says if pastors are not clear on their own theology of stewardship, in control of their personal finances, and giving at least 10% to their churches, they will not be good motivators of their flock.Know What Others Give
Dr. Christopher says it’s imperative that the pastor know what members are giving to the work of the church. It’s because one’s generosity to the church is a strong indicator of one’s spiritual maturity and health.
About J. Clif Christopher
Dr. Christopher is an ordained United Methodist pastor who served churches early in his career then, 20 years ago, founded Horizons Stewardship. He has led numerous building and capital campaigns in churches. In the last ten years he has helped churches raise more than a half billion dollars. You can find out more at the Horizons Stewardship website.
Books Dr. Christopher Recommends:
Money Matters – Mike Slaughter
Money Matters in Church – Stroope/Malphurs
Ministry and Money – Janet and Phillip Jamieson
Maximize: How to Develop Extravagant Givers in Your Church- Searcy/Henson
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