Monday, August 22, 2011

Asking the church for money: How much is too much?

How many offerings does your church take up?

Secondary question: How many is too many?

Here’s a list of offerings we do or have done in my church:

1. Regular budget offerings, every Sunday, without fail. It's part of worship, of course.
2. Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions; runs roughly for the entire months of December and January. Our largest and most important 'special' offering.
3. Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions; I promote it for a single Sunday in March or April but people give over a period of 3-4 Sundays. NAMB just about lost my trust with the recent debacles but is doing much better now.
4. World Hunger Offering; usually in October and usually not just a ‘give us a check or cash’ offering but some kind of promotion.
5. Local crisis pregnancy center; February, usually like the WHO.
6. Gideons; not annually but occasionally when we host a Gideon speaker we will receive an offering for the group.
7. Local drug/alcohol rehab facility; similar to the pregnancy center.
8. Golf tournament for local rehab unit; church members receive letters asking for donations from our golfers but not a direct offering.
9. Church mission trip; usually not a cash offering.
10. Local benevolence need; as needed love offering for someone or some family need
11. Disaster relief; as needed, Alabama tornadoes this year
12. Children’s Home; usually a food pantry type, although this year they asked for Wal-Mart gift cards.
13. Love offering for pastor and staff. I'm all for this one. I did insist that 'Pastor Appreiciation Sunday' be changed to 'Staff Appreciation' when we called another full time staff member.
14. Associational Special Mission Offering. We don't do this one annually but our association started a mission offering, complete with special envelopes and named for a former long term Associational Missionary.

We don't participate in the state mission offering, any hospital, seminary, or Baptist senior ministry.

I'm thinking that it is soooo easy to go to the well too often and that budgeting for some of these ministries is easier but then our church doesn't object to occasional promotions for the causes they are familiar with.

What I haven't been able to do is have a perspective from the pew. Are folks thinking, 'Not another one,' or 'Enough is enough.' Looking at my list, it just looks like too many, too often. Everyone wants to pass the plate one more time for their pet cause.

Enough is enough.


Dave Miller said...

Don't you think the love offering for the pastor should be much higher on that list?

Tom Parker said...


I too am afraid that our churches have too many special offerings.

William Thornton said...

Yep. I think the LO for the pastor should be higher in every way.;)

David R. Brumbelow said...

My folks don't worry about too many offerings. If too many, they just don't give; or don't give much.
David R. Brumbelow

Anonymous said...

I'll make an anonymous comment for obvious reasons. For most of my life, I recall the annual offerings (Moon, Armstrong, and state offerings). I remember that the association was funded via budget line item and that the hunger fund was via offering envelopes always available (but rarely emphasized from the pulpit). These were all small churches that were not on anyone's inside list.

At my current church, very well connected with the leaders of various SBC agencies, we publicize Lottie Moon and nothing else beyond our own church's work. I don't think that the words "Annie Armstrong" or "Cooperative Program" or "NAMB" have been uttered from the pulpit.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I have been interested in joining a church where I live. When I expressed this interest, I received a package of requirements in the mail, including a guideline to how much I need to give to be in good standing with the church. I am a generous person by nature and understand that a church needs funds to run, expand, and help the community. I am by no means unwilling to give what I can afford. The problem is, I cannot afford what the church is asking for. I am the first person in my family to go to college and had to finance everything myself. A big portion of my income goes to students loans. Also, I am a single parent who has to provide shelter and essentials to my daughter and myself. I make roughly $40,000 per year. If I give the church the $300-$350 (10% of my earnings) that they think I should pay, I couldn't cover my bills, expenses, etc. For this reason, I have basically stopped going to church. I only go on special occasions. Can someone give me feedback on my situation. I am a Christian who wants to have membership in a church; however, I feel that I cannot afford this membership.