Parish finances are a sensitive subject for many reasons. Parishes need to work with money from a spiritual perspective, and model the values that the Gospel proclaims. They also need to remember that their first responsibility around the topic of money is to form and equip their parishioners for handling money as disciples in their daily lives.
Mission and Budget
As with everything else in an evangelizing parish, the mission must be held above all else. Consider every line item in the budget based on how well it meets the mission of the Church.
Concentrating on one specific obligation of stewardship, even one as important as church support, could make it harder—even
Stewardship: A Disciple's Response, Introduction
It is worth observing that the first ones the ushers bring the basket to are the celebrant and other ministers in the sanctuary. As a member of the parish, I, too, am mailed envelopes. I use them and give as generously as I would want the people to give. When I have more than one Mass (always), I put in a blank envelope since I am convinced that the gesture is important.
William J. Bausch
The Total Parish Manual
Why not begin by working on your church's mission vision rather than your budget deficit? That may sound backward, but it isn't. Few churches do ministry out of a financial surplus. Almost every church doing effective ministry feels as though it's running near the financial edge. Why? Because money and ministry engage in a powerful interplay. And hear's the dynamic: Money follows ministry, not the other way around. A church increases its giving only when it has a ministry vision thrilling enough to motivate everyone to shake out their pockets more vigorously.
Robert C. Heerspink
Firstfruits: A Stewardship Guide For Church Leaders
Firstfruits: A Stewardship Guide for Church Leaders
(formerly titled "Becoming a Firstfruits Congregation: A Stewardship Guide for Church Leaders)
Robert C. Heerpink
This self-directed study guide features 27 brief readings that help readers discover the Bible's wisdom on giving for today from a biblical and Reformed perspective. Includes help with practical follow-up ideas--setting up church budgets, suggestions for personal giving, fundraisers, endowments, and more! (Amazon)
Stewardship: A Parish Handbook
C. Justin Clements
Make stewardship a way of life in your parish with the most comprehensive single guide ever published for parishes, diocesan leaders, and lay ministers involved in developing and implementing local-level stewardship programs. Stewardship: A Parish Handbook also includes an extensive list of stewardship references and resources, and an appendix of sample materials for parish use. (Amazon)
While it covers other aspects of stewardship, the bulk of this book is on financial stewardship.
Money Matters: Personal Giving in American Churches
Dean R. Hoge, Charles Zech, Patrick McNamara, Michael J. Donahue
Money Matters presents the findings of the largest and most incisive study of factors influencing church giving in America. The authors conducted an exhaustive study of church giving in five representative denominations: Assemblies of God, Southern Baptist, Roman Catholic, ELCA, and Presbyterian. With detailed information from 625 churches, this book offers surprising conclusions about member contributions. (Amazon)
Why Catholics Don't Give...And What Can Be Done About It
Charles E. Zech
If you want to raise more revenue, more quickly and easily, you owe it to yourself - and those you minister to - to examine the practical advice and solid information presented in this book. Written for pastors, diocesan staff, development directors, stewardship committees, and anyone else whose job includes generating income. (Amazon)
Ministry and Money: A Guide for Clergy and Their Friends
Frank, straightforward guidance for clergy seeking to develop a sound theology of money and skills for church administration, Ministry and Money also puts forth a new strategy for self-care, and a confident approach to managing both personal and congregational finances. Dan Hotchkiss wants to help clergy overcome their own anxieties about money matters so they can help others address the personal, social, and congregational aspects of this challenging and often difficult topic. (Amazon)
- Will church finances be the next scandal? (David Gibson, Commonweal)
- Magazine profile focuses attention on Church finances (Our Sunday Visitor)
Header photo by seadigs (Creative Commons License).