Friday, September 30, 2011

Offering Distribution

Over the course of several weeks, I am creating an online stewardship workshop to assist churches and other non-profits with their stewardship celebrations. Please click back on previous posts for more information.

This is a new idea that I haven't tried yet: As I write this, I am in Kansas City at the Leadership Institute (LI) seminar held at United Methodist Church of the Resurrection. Over three days, LI brings together 2,000 leaders from across the country for an opportunity to explore leadership techniques and consider how we can bring new life to our churches. There are 80 breakout sessions focusing on areas such as children and family ministries, mission and outreach, welcoming new members, and stewardship. This is my second year attending LI, and this year our congregation sent three leaders to the event. I highly recommend this workshop to lay leaders and pastors. (

At the event, Resurrection’s Senior Pastor, Adam Hamilton, talked about the importance of sharing with our members why we give offering prior to distribution. For many of us, the offering time is announced: “We will now receive our offering.” We don’t mention why we receive offering, because we assume everyone knows the reason—to keep things going. What would happen if, instead of seeing offering as "the way we keep things going" we saw offering as the way we lived out the prayer "thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as in heaven?" What impact would we have if we took 30 seconds each week and shared with our congregation the reasons we receive offering? We could say something like this:

“We will now receive our offering. In the time of prayer we just completed, we prayed for the hungry and homeless in our community, including those who sleep in our entry way. We give our offering to God not out of obligation, but because we care about all those people we just prayed for. The homeless who receive food from our congregation’s donations to Christian Ministries. The hospitalized, who are visited by our Pastors. The kids in Sunday School who are using a new hands-on curriculum to teach them about the love of Jesus. During this time of offering, we have an opportunity to honor God by sharing the gifts He has given us. Thank you for blessing others through your generosity. As the offering plates are passed, in addition to sharing your gift, please take time to pray for those who will be touched by your gifts. May Christ be made known to all in need.”

What would happen if each week we briefly highlighted some of the many missions that are made possible by the offering and asked people to pray for these missions? This is more than a simple way to “get more offering money” to pay the bills.

The offering is a sacred time where we share what we have with those in need to the glory of God. What if we took time to teach this to our congregations? This is an opportunity, each week, to take 30 seconds and share God's mission and purpose with those around us. Over 52 weeks, that’s 26 minutes of time spent educating people on the mission of your church and the purpose of giving gifts to God.

That’s all I have for this week. After 3 days of learning, worshiping and finding renewal, I need rest. Peace be with you all!


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  2. I see this a reminder to those who "take" the offering, and those who "give" the offering. I will share this with our Synodical Women's Organization, for such keeps the purpose of offering upfront for us as well as for the congregational units whom we ask to be generous.