Stewardship Resource

Saying Thank You..THE BODY OF CHRIST IS NOT A CHARITY: Why Posting Amounts People Give Is A Bad Idea

Letter  Letter
  • Author: Greg Bradshaw, Stewardship-Evangelism Committee Chairperson,
    Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church, Boise, Idaho
  • Updated: 03/20/2008

This is a letter who called the email SAYING THANK YOU "HORRIBLE article."

Jerry, that is a HORRIBLE article!

I think a thank you note is fine.  I also think that publishing the names of those that have agreed to pledge is fine.  What I strongly disagree with is the publishing of dollar amounts.  That is simply not a good idea for two reasons.  

First, it goes against the teachings of Jesus.  Please re-examine the story of the Widow's offering and tell me if Jesus would support the idea of publishing dollar amounts.

Second, Christ's Church is NOT a "non-profit organization"!!!  We are an outpost, a base of forward operations, for the Kingdom of God. The idea of adapting these secular fundraising devices is not conducive to building up the Body of Christ.  I don't want ANYONE in my congregation to feel "proud" of how much they are giving.  That is wrong on so many levels, but let me point out two:

-It will embarrass those on fixed incomes that can't give a lot of money, but are living the Biblical idea of percentage giving.

-It will foster the idea that "I give a lot of money, I get to call the shots." Trust me, I've seen it in my congregation, and I can only imagine how much MORE INFLATED their egos would have been if the dollar amounts were published! When the deep pockets in our congregation didn't get their way after a "dust up" over staffing, they left. They felt entitled to get what they wanted. They didn't feel like they were part of the community, but instead that they were the "benefactors" of the congregation.  The only "benefactor" of the Church is God.  

I can only imagine the damage done to Christian Stewardship when people see dollar amounts given.  In the congregation mentioned, it sounds like financial stewardship became a competition. How tragic!!!!  

We are all beggers, this much is quote some crazy German monk...

I HIGHLY recommend that everyone that gets this newsletter read Michael O'-Hurley-Pitts "The Passionate Steward: Recovering Christian Stewardship from Secular Fundraising" for a good Christ-centered (gasp!), thoughtful and community building approach to Stewardship.  

I am DISGUSTED that a congregation would even THINK of printing the dollar amounts of pledges.  I know I have said this already, but I can't get over it!

Please, please, please think twice before you put out another article like this.  And repeat this a hundred times before you send out another terrible article like this one:

The Body of Christ is not a charity.
The Body of Christ is not a charity.
The Body of Christ is not a charity.
The Body of Christ is not a charity....

Yours in Christ,
Greg Bradshaw

Stewardship-Evangelism Committee Chairperson
Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church
Boise, Idaho

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