This is a guest post from Bruce Vernon. He and his wife Andrea pastor Vineyard Community Church Logansport.
As a small church pastor of 120 ( that is adults, kids, babies and a few college kids that wander in and out ), dealing with limited finances can be disappointing and discouraging. Envy can quickly set in your heart. You see churches in your community or the church hosting your denomination’s conference sport all the latest technology and gadgetry that enhances ministry. You read about the latest 40 day church adventure. Or, you would like to transition your sermons or messages to CD’s rather than audio-cassettes but you suddenly remember one important fact: “ There is no money for that.” Let’s face it, small church pastors have a difficult time acquiring those additional things we want and desire for ministry. I recall a Methodist pastor friend remark that money follows ministry.
I always liked the statement but never really saw it play out in my church.
One day I was prompted to list all the things the church both needed and also wanted. The list had some big ticket items. Projectors. Banners. CD burners. Children’s curriculum. Paint for the Lobby. Then I thought to myself, “why not share this list with the congregation? Maybe someone is out there looking for a way to contribute.” I put together our “above and beyond offerings “ list.
The first time I shared the list, one couple immediately responded and purchased two semesters of children’s curriculum totaling $300. Next was our video projector worth $1500. Then two decorative banners for the sanctuary worth $500.
Occasionally the donations were from the church’s systematic tithers or givers. But more often than not, the generosity came from those who did not give all that much to the church but for some reason felt compelled to give a large amount.
I had discovered another way for people to contribute financially to the church.
Our “above and beyond” list has been in place for a few years. Since that time I have noticed my friend was right. People are not likely to buy paint but if the item impacts people they will give extravagantly.
By the way, we did make the transition and are now recording and copying our sermons on CD’s. Someone wrote a check for $1000 and said go buy the equipment you need.
So if you find yourself wishing for a lot, make a list. Call it what you like. Pastors are a fairly creative bunch. You may unleash some generosity in someone within your congregation and see your wish come true.