In the Stewardship Commitee meetings today an interesting phrase came up: pinch points. Don Fensterman gathered frequently recurring questions as he visited churches around the country. These are what he calls the pinch points, places where churches are asking the tough stewardship questions. Here they are:
Pinch-points for local church stewardship
1. 20/80 challenge? why do 20% seem to keep carrying on t80% of the load?
2. Should we do a capital campaign when general giving is lagging? Shouldn't we really wait until our general fund is in better shape before we launch a capaitl campaing? Won't a capital campaign just draw against general fund giving (answer: NO).
3. Donor burn-out with multiple appeals (not all Covenant)? Aren't members getting tired of too many "asks"?
4. Motivating a church to do something/anything regarding stewardship more than meeting monthly? Why are do so many churches filled with smart people appraoch stewardship by forming a committee that meets and does nothing?
5. Should the pastor have knowledge of individual giving? Does this empower leadership or taint it?
6. The pastor who says “my service is my tithe”? Do pastors who neglect to practice a tithe of their income and instead substitute their service hurt church giving? Do they think nobody knows?
7. Perennial 2-3% budget increase? Why do we dream so big with ministry and fund so small?
8. “Teaching to give” materials? Do we really need more materials and curicculuum?
9. Use and effectiveness of “running behind” letter? How much does the "Help, the ship is sinking!!" letter really help develop stewards versus rescuers?
The point the committee kept coming back to over and over again is that the pastor is the key to blocking or unlocking giving at the local level. Pastors either avoid it or embrace it. And the committee plays with the idea of ditching the term "stewardship" because it has been coopted by our culture to mean nothing and everything, like the term "evangelical." Maybe we should be called the "Money Commission" That would be clear!