I had the privilege of meeting Kevin Lee almost one year ago. Vanco Payments had just launched a blog and reached out for me to provide a few guest posts. That was the first time I had ever heard of Vanco. After a little research, it became clear that Kevin and Vanco were already helping more than 20,000 churches be more generous by providing exceptional digital giving tools.
Here are the links to those guest posts:
- Why Pledge Drives Can Kill Growth
- Will My Church Survive for the Next Generation and Other Scary Questions
- 4 Behaviors Costing Your Church Money and Shared Vision
As I’ve had the opportunity to interact with Kevin and his team on a more regular basis, I couldn’t be more excited about their commitment to helping church leaders create and replicate better habits around giving and stewardship within the context of local church ministry. In fact, you should check out their latest research study if you haven't already.
A lot of CEO’s just sit in their corner offices and monitor balance sheets and sales forecasts. That’s not Kevin Lee. It’s not uncommon for him to jump on a plane headed for a church conference or clear his schedule to attend a gathering of pastors. What he’s most excited about is learning about the challenges church leaders are facing. He uses that information as inspiration for future product offerings and development.
So when Kevin and Vanco called to tell me about this new initiative called, Voices on Stewardship, I knew it was something I was interested in and a place where I wanted to invest my time and ideas.
Want to hear the whole story? Check out this podcast episode.
Church Stewardship Is A Conversation I’m Committed to Having
I’ve been writing about church giving for a decade now. My desire is to bring the best ideas from for-profit and nonprofit contexts and translate them into the language and practice of the church. This is an unprecedented church giving climate that will require a new set of tools and a new type of thinking to ensure the work of local churches continues to be fully funded both now and in the future.
It’s interesting that most of the writing related to church stewardship is connected to the ups and downs of the economy. But Oxford University Press published, Passing the Plate, several years ago. In that book, they coin the phrase “discretionary obligation” as their assessment of the American Christian’s view and posture toward giving today.
That idea is fundamentally problematic both to the church leader and the American Christian. For the Christian, it suggests a conflict between who is the source of our success in a “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” culture. For the church leader, it suggests a coming reality where the competition for attention and dollars will be fierce in light of the multiplying philanthropic options available to the average person in the pew.
New Thinking, Ideas, and Habits Required
This is why Voices on Stewardship is so important. There needs to be a central place where church leaders can gather, contemplate, reflect, and determine how to respond to these changing dynamics. I hope to be able to help church leaders think differently and contribute to a new, more effective and holistic approach to funding local church ministry.
I'd love for you to take a few minutes to browse my most recent posts:
- Hope Is Not a Viable Church Strategy
- 10 Measurable Indicators of Ministry Effectiveness
- The Dirty Little Secret of Campaign Consulting
- Why A Vision-Driven Campaign Is Just Pretty Window Dressing
The Risk of Not Changing And the Reward If We Do
When I read books like, The Great Evangelical Recession, I’m reminded that if church leaders don’t change their standard approach to stewardship, they risk limiting the ministry potential and impact their congregation can have on the community in which it exists. It’s time to reconnect with the heartbeat of stewardship, to take what has been freely given to us and see ourselves as an offering to God.
If we are willing to go “all in” with God, then we can be confident the work of the local church will continue at fully funded levels. And it must continue. There was no other institution ordained on Pentecost to carry forward the earthly ministry of Christ until His return other than the local church. There is no Plan B.
We must be bold and courageous. All the money needed to fund all the ministry God is calling you to accomplish is available to you today. But it must be cultivated through the spiritual formation and growth of every person in your congregation--no matter where they are on their journey of faith. It’s up to you.
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