Friday, July 8, 2011

A Second Look at Stewardship

I've always been at odds with church fundraising philosophies. In the past few years church stewardship resources have taken the position, expressed one way or another, that they are "encouraging generosity." Reading between the lines, I understand them to say that their members are not being generous enough toward the church. I have yet to hear a church admit that it should be more generous to causes or people beyond it's own institutional needs.

I like to think that I am already a generous person. Indeed, I am capable of amazing acts of generosity. I am, however, somewhat discerning about the causes I support. For example, just cause you say you need my money seems a poor reason for me to fork it over.

If churches really wanted to bring out my generosity they should spend some time realigning their financial priorities toward saving the planet, changing the world, and challenging injustice rather than buying new furniture, or developing programs aimed at guilting me into being more generous.

On my commute to the church over the past two years I regularly drove by one or two individuals standing at the corner of 5th and Walnut with a cardboard sign stating their need. The individuals were representatives of a small group of regulars who took turns and shared signs. I know there are organizations in Spokane that provide services for the homeless (though admittedly they don't serve Coors Light) so I didn't contribute.

Perhaps those panhandlers should have offered drive-by educational sessions encouraging generosity. Right before distributing pledge forms....

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