When I work with churches to set up or revise their endowment funds, I usually suggest a 5% spending policy:  take the value of the fund on September 30 each year and make 5% of that available for the following year, or some similar formula. I think this is the best approach, except when it […]

Church Finance

May 30, 2017

Why 25 may be better than 5

I recently read a book that should be required reading for any good Methonerd like myself.  Reverend Will Cantrell has written Unafraid and Unashamed:  Facing the Future of United Methodism.  It’s a really, really good book discussing the human sexuality issue in the church. At just 150 or so pages it’s a fairly quick read […]

Church Leadership

May 23, 2017

A Book You Really Must Read

I had a call from a pastor friend last week.  He thought we were going to talk about bequests and endowments.  We ended up talking about a capital campaign.  That was my fault. He called me excited that a member of his church had left a six-figure gift in her will.  This is a church […]

Church Finance

October 10, 2016

Reasons to have a capital campaign

As I watch the news about the impending invasion of Hurricane Matthew on the southeast United States, two memory tracks come to mind. The earlier of the two was in August of 1995 when we were vacationing in North Carolina and Hurricane Felix was a threat.  We were highly encouraged to evacuate and had every […]

Church Finance

October 6, 2016

Of Methodists, hurricanes and you

Sometimes I talk about how critically important it is for your members to pledge.  At other meetings I talk about why it’s not important at all, sometimes in the same church. The difference is which committee I’m talking with. The stewardship committee should emphasize pledging.  A pledge represents a goal, a decision made in advance. […]

Church Finance

October 3, 2016

Why pledging is so very important, and why it’s not at all.

A few weeks ago I was in an investment seminar and the speaker suggested starting every meeting with account holders by asking each person in the meeting to write down an answer to a simple question: “What is the purpose of this pool of money?” At home that’s an easy question, many of us have […]

Church Finance

September 14, 2016

What’s this for, anyway?

There are about 750 churches in the East Ohio Annual Conference and if all 750 did a stewardship campaign, all 750 would be different.  And I think that’s how it should be.  Churches have different cultures, serve different demographics, are in different places in their discipling.  But in my opinion each and every campaign should […]

Church Finance

September 12, 2016

Kicking off your campaign with a good story

As you continue to plan your campaign, it is important to know where you want the campaign to get you.  And to know that you need to know where you are. There are some figures you need to have a handle on to figure that out. Group 1:  Congregation numbers These are the basics and […]

Church Finance

September 6, 2016

Nine numbers you need to know

Based on the calls and emails from last week’s post there was a part of it that many of you were uncomfortable with. As I’m sure you will recall I suggested that you send different stewardship messages to different folks, with tithers, your middle donors and your nongiving or barely giving folks. But ministers aren’t […]

Church Finance

August 29, 2016

Yes, you should know

I gave myself five days before writing this post as an intentional time of reflection.  As I sat in the Portland Airport (the picture above is me waiting for my plane) I was exhausted, demoralized and skeptical.  After a rigorous schedule of naps, I am no longer exhausted.  I remain, to some extent, demoralized and […]

Church Finance

May 25, 2016

Post script