Monday, September 11, 2006

When should pastors know about people's giving?

At the meeting today of the Stewardship Commission, Don Fensterman gave a great report that went into provocative territory. He presented some material he gleaned from John Maxwell and Brian Kluth about what pastors should and should not know about people's giving in their churches.
The premise is that Jesus was not shy about observing giving patterns based on Mark 12:41a (watching people give in the Temple treasury). So, without fanfare, here are the principals we discussed and thought we'd love to hear your reactions:
1. Pastors should NEVER know the amount of dollars given.
2. A pastor should know when...an individual is being considered for a leadership position. The Treasurer should confirm that the candidate gives in a consistent, meaningful and proportional way.
3. A pastor should know...at the end of the year,a visual picture of the broad distribution bands of giving within the congregation, by ages, by amounts, by zip codes or other meaningful categories.
4. A pastor should know....when an individual STARTS giving consistently and should send out a brief note of appreciation for support for ministries and mission.
5. A pastor should know...when an individual signficantly DECREASES giving or stops giving. Typically this is part of a larger spiritual portrait that deserves pastoral care and conversation.
6. A pastor should know...when an individual has demonstrated an increased capacity to give. Too often people stay at the giving level at which they began congregational life regardless of capacity.
7. (We added this one as a group) A pastor should know....that all church staff are giving regularly and that the church leadership should know that the pastor gives consistently, meaningfully and proportionally.

So, what do you think? Is this sound spiritually? Does it keep privacy boundaries, yet keep finances part of one's discipleship?
let me know.


At 8:29 PM , Blogger Ted Gossard said...

Helpful. And I think so.

I do think it is Biblical that one group finds out how generously another group is giving, and this can spur them on to give more. Most of us really need this. But it somehow is lacking. And yet, we are not to broadcast how much we give. But in "discipling" another, for example, we certainly do want to talk about giving, and we need then to talk about our own giving. So as to help them. As at the heart of discipling, is having the disciple follow your example as you follow Christ. Just my thoughts offhand.

(I also want to say, I wish I would have done better, and grown greater in this grace through the years. Though I am thankful for God's grace in this.)

At 12:26 PM , Anonymous Doug said...


Great questions! I think that "privacy boundaries" is a thouroughly American concept that would have been foreign to most of the authors of scripture. When our sense of community overshadows our sense of individuality (as I think it did in Jesus' mind) the ideal of privacy vanishes. The idea that my finances are my own private business is, as you say, a boundary. It separates us from each other and makes our money more important than other people. To remove this boundary, however, takes me and every other American way outside of our comfort zone. How to overcome this. . .?


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