Email reflections between ELCA Stewardship Key Leaders regarding financial crisis.
How Generous Are People During a During Public Financial Crisis?
The following are October 3 email reflections by Stewardship Key Leaders for the ELCA the during the time of "financial crisis" in the United States.
Charles Lane wrote:
This is a time to celebrate and proclaim the abundance of God. In the face of the inevitable scarcity thinking, we have the marvelous news of the abundant generosity of our God.
Call me a hopeless optimist(which I'm not), but I see this as a time when God's people will respond generously because they know they have been generously blessed. I also see this as a time when our message of God's abundance just might get an even better hearing, since it flies in the face of what people are hearing and reading every day.
Kathy Haueisen responded by stating:
One of the council members asked their pastor to ask me what to say to people who are really struggling financially right now. I told them we'd ask people do what they can do and not do anything they don't think they can do. We hand the whole situation over to the Spirit and see where we end up. Then we discern what we need to do next. Even in tough economic times most of us have more disposable funds than we believe we have and more potential to generate additional funds than we realize. That congregation is in a "full speed ahead" mode.
www.stewardshipconnection.com [Gene Grimm] continued the exchange:
I like to share 2 Corinthians 8:12 on occasions like that, "If the eagerness(to give)is there,the gift is acceptable according to what one has - not according to what one does not have."
I realize this is also a faith versus fear issue,and news in Washington doesn't raise much confidence in national leaders, however if people will really reach their conclusion about giving based on prayer, I think all will be well.
The good news is that the last six recessions have failed to reduce giving, though during recessions increases are not quite as high.
Karen Soli wrote:
I have suggested that in some ways it is better to be in the midst of a stewardship program right now because it helps us remember our call to be faithful stewards of the church's ongoing needs. We are in a position to evaluate our attitudes and actions towards our financial resources through the lens of faith. I agree with all of you who have suggested this and the importance of the message of God's care, peace that passes all understanding and the abundance of graceful blessings. The pastors and leaders I am working with fully support this same attitude.
I have had the privilege of serving two different times on the Iron Range of Minnesota, a place with severe economic ups and downs. We were there for a true "depression" for the area in the early 1980's. Church giving doesn't necessarily suffer that much in an economic downturn. It seems people realize their need for the church and its message and activities much more in difficult times. Go figure.
An Additional Resource
A very helpful article is found in a link in the October 6-12, recent Stewardship of Life Newsletter to Secrets to Strong Giving in a Struggling Economy from ChurchSolutions magazine.
Charles Lane, Kathy Haueisen, Gene Grimm, Karen Soli.
Image credit: © Ignacio García Losa (ignaciogarcialosa.com) via Flickr. Used by permission.