Annual Financial Campaign Best Practices  As Christian stewards, we are called to be generous givers. The church appeals for our financial generosity especially during the annual financial campaign. As churches face increasing financial pressures, church leaders sometimes experience difficulty in remaining focused on nurturing the spiritual gift of generous giving, including financial giving. The tendency is to move to a reactionary position of fundraising to meet the growing demands of the church operating expenses. However, the most effective, spiritually centered annual financial campaigns consistently focus . . . Read More

Best Practices for Effective Financial Stewardship in the Local Church The term, "best practices" refers to a leadership style that employs optimal strategies.  These best practices do not guarantee an organization's financial health, nor do the promise to tranform a person's financial commitment.  Rather, these strategies and policies are the exceptional practices of healthy, vital faith-based communities.  Some of these best practices will enhance the financial discipleship of your community; however, other practices may not be well-suited for your particular organization.  They are designed to stimulate your thinking and to encourage new perspectives.  These best practices are focused . . . Read More

Beyond Fundraising: Developing a Year-Round Culture of Generosity  One of the foundational premises of Christian stewardship is that God is the owner of all. All that we have in life is a generous gift from God. Stewardship includes our care of one another, the use of natural resources, and the management of our personal property and our finances. Thus, stewardship concerns far more than just money. Yet, we often equate stewardship with the topic of money. Stewardship is often a topic that is . . . Read More

Capital Campaigns: Inspiring Generosity through Abundant Vision  The concept of the capital campaign was first introduced in the Book of Exodus. Interestingly, God reminded the early religious community to use their gifts and talents to achieve God’s goals. Moses was the first religious leader to recognize the need for a capital campaign. This campaign focused on people giving a portion of their assets to support the religious community. Despite the success of Moses and his followers, many contemporary church leaders fail to follow his example. As a result, these congregations often experience financial giving patterns reflecting an attitude of. . . Read More

Electronic Giving to the Local Church  Electronic fund transfer (EFT) is one of the fastest growing services provided by American financial institutions. Industry leaders suggest that this growth trend will continue for the foreseeable future. Recently, church members are following this same trend by choosing to have their contributions automatically withdrawn from their personal checking account or savings account. Indeed, most mainline denominational finance . . . Read More

Estate Planning: A Key to Faithful Stewardship  An estate plan is a significant resource for a faithful Christian steward. An estate plan is for everyone – young parents, retirees, singles, middle-aged individuals, adult children with a living parent. It enables individuals to be assured that their personal desires will be followed. An estate plan provides a tool to distribute people’s assets according to their faithful intent. It may solve some . . . Read More

Mission Possible: Motivational Factors for Charitable Contributions  A clear and purposeful church mission statement will contribute to increased congregational giving. This article was featured in Church Executive, a magazine with a circulation of approximately 20,000 reaching senior pastors, executive pastors, and business administrators of large Christian churches. Commenting on Bell's article, Raj Dayal, Managing Editor, said "The article is insightful and well-written." . . . Read More

Personal Spending Plans  A personal spending plan is a fundamental tool that enables individuals to control money; rather than be controlled by it! A spending plan further enables people to help reach their financial goals and live out their values and priorities. Less than half of most families have adopted a personal spending plan or “family budget.” As a result, many families are . . . Read More

Segmenting Donors Leads to Inspired Generosity  The annual campaign is often the one opportunity that faith-based organizations and the church provide for people to practice financial generosity.  The practice generosity by committing to share their personal financial assets with the ministry and mission of the organization.  However, this opportunity with an intentional focus on the individual giver is often neglected by leaders.  The typical leader's focus is different.  The annual campaign is often viewed by leaders as . . . Read More

Stewardship & Fundraising: An Intentional Balance  While fundraising and Christian stewardship are interrelated, distinct differences do exist. All Christian stewardship practices do not involve fundraising. All fundraising efforts are not grounded in Christian stewardship. Christian stewardship is primarily a theological concept that influences lifestyle, personal choices, and communal behavior. It asks the questions, "Whose is it anyways?" "To whom does it belong?" The answer is consistent. "It belongs to God. All is a gift from God." Fundraising, in part, is a learned skill and intentional strategy to drive donor generosity and to match donor intent with organizational purpose. Fundraising is necessary for . . . Read More

Sluggish Economy Increases Financial Pressure for Church Leaders  Church leaders are facing growing financial challenges as the sluggish economy impacts church operational costs as well as individual personal expenses. Parishioners are paying more for everyday items ranging from gasoline to eggs. Church leaders are met with higher than projected costs for utilities, health care coverage, and office supplies. Finance Committees are pressured to cut costs in order to pay these required expenses. As this pressure grows, finance leaders search for . . . Read More

The Steward: Full of Faith  Christian stewardship is the faithful response that we offer God for the giftedness of our lives. Being a faithful steward, like being a disciple, begins with God’s initiative. A faithful steward lives obediently to God by offering prayers, worship attendance, spiritual gifts, financial resources, witness, and service. Thus, faithful stewardship involves all aspects of our discipleship. Yet, our financial response to God often conflicts with our own personal desires and choices. We face challenges everyday to make financial decisions that are obedient to God’s call to serve as faithful stewards. . . Read More

Tithing: A Benchmark for Giving  Tithing becomes a benchmark for the modern day Christian.  Since few regular worship attenders have achieved the giving mark of tithing, how might pastors and church leaders encourage congregants to strive to tithe?  If pastors and church leaders promote proportionate giving, worshippers will be called to examine their current giving levels and will be challenged to move closer to the tithe.  Why is tithing a benchmark rather than . . . Read More

Will Our Children Be Stewards?  The answer relies largely on the level of conversation that we foster in and through our faith communities. The simple decisions that children make about money may seem to have minimal, if any, bearing on others. However, the cumulative micro-economic influence of children does sway macro-economic outcomes. We now live in a global marketplace. Children’s direct money choices and their influence on adult’s money choices ripple around the world to impact issues like . . . Read More