Resources for Clergy

Ten Most Common Errors in Funding Ministry

1. We believe there is a limit.

  • By beginning with the budget from last year, we limit our view of the capacity the congregation has to meet ministry challenges.
  • By constantly emphasizing how far we are behind in our budget each month, we create a culture of failure.

2. We think everyone is like us.

  • Everyone has a passion for a different type of ministry.
  • When we take our funding goal and divide it by the number of donors, we set targets that are too low for some and too high for others.

3. We beg instead of motivate.

  • When we paint a dismal picture, we tell people that even if they give it may not be enough for us to accomplish much.
  • When we promise to only ask for funding once, we limit our ability to excite people about special opportunities for funding.

4. We try to “sell dead horses.”

  • If we focus on the deficit rather than the potential ministries, we are counter-productive.
  • Trying a “Catch-up Sunday” can build momentum to erase deficits.

5. We allow lost people to be leaders.

  • Dedicated givers should hold key positions, not just those people that volunteer.
  • Everyone that leads should be willing to tell their story of the joy they have to fund ministry.

6. We protect our people.

  • Finance committees believe we cannot “ask for more” when we should always enable new visions to be shared.
  • We believe that when there is bad economic news, our people will stop giving.

7. We fail to understand whose money it is.

  • God is the source of all that we have.
  • Stewardship is our need to give, not the church’s need to receive.

8. We fail to emphasize commitment!

  • God wants us to be disciples that are committed, not just occasional Christians.
  • Pledge cards are proven to make a difference in funding ministry.

9. We do not have a clear target for giving.

  • MORE is not a clear goal!
  • Answer 3 questions:
    1. What do you want me to do?
    2. What will happen if I am willing to do what you ask?
    3. How will I know?

10. We confuse stewardship with fund-raising.

  • We must begin with a theology of our treasure and our trust in God.
  • When we try to “fund a budget” we become just like all the other organizations.