Pornography and the World Wide Web are almost synonymous so to add to it I thought I might offer some thoughts on what are pornographic ideas for most of us mainline Protestants! We really don’t want people to know that we are Christians and that we are called to “proclaim the gospel to all the world” or that congregations are like all other institutions, organizations, or clubs – we need money donated by our members in order to continue! MONEY AND EVANGELISM – we mainline Protestants do not talk about these things in polite company!! Well, I will try not to be cynical and open myself to the possibilities of the Holy Spirit moving amongst us!!
Peace UCC in Brillion missed its budgeted income amount by about $12,100 or 13% in 2017. If we simply looked at the amount pledged for 2018 we would be about 50% below our budgeted need! The good news is this congregation gives more than it pledges!! We had about the same amount of pledges in 2017 as we have for 22018 and yet took in/received almost twice the pledged amount BUT (as above) missed meeting our needs by 13%.
What if in 2018, we agreed to increase our giving by 13%? What if we all dug deeper and greeted our incoming settled minister with a balanced budget? 13% of the largest amount pledged through electronic giving would be an extra $11 per week! And that’s the top end of our giving “scale”! Think about it, pray about it, please consider it!
Secondly, what about EVANGELISM? Evangelism is the act of inviting non-churched folk to join us in worship and witness. It is the act of being a bit snoopy, I know, as first one needs to discern/figure out/ask if a friend/acquaintance/former member/former attendee is participating in another worshiping community. And then comes “the ask”. Something like “hey, want to join us at Peace UCC for our monthly potluck dinner” might be appropriate. Or it could be “Peace UCC is a place I go to for comfort, joy, a chance to think about my life, maybe you’d like it too. Want to go with me some Sunday morning?” While it may sound dangerous, I don’t think anyone has ever been attacked for one of the above and who knows, maybe it’ll be a way to get to know and deepen a relationship.
Lastly, a word of warning – do not,..err excuse me…DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES OR FANTASY think, believe, or hope a new settled minister will “solve” or “fix” the budget or membership problems/challenges of a congregation. Congregations grow because members decide to invite non-members/participants to join them. They take seriously the statement of faith and say (as Phillip does in John’s Gospel) “come and see” or they invite people to “come fisher for people” (as Jesus does in Mark’s Gospel AS for the budget, stewardship happens when a congregation finds worth and meaning in its life together. Now a new minister can help with that but it is each member who gives what they can afford.
Evangelism and money – two challenges we face but they are challenges and not barriers. Peace UCC will continue as a viable congregation because we, the congregation decide it can and it will. Let us pray and believe we shall continue to be a faith community welcoming the stranger, lifting up the brokenhearted, and feeding the hungry whether it is one’s stomach or faith which need be fed.
See you in church or sometime soon I hope!!