When there is talk about launching an increased offertory effort, who leads theÂ discussion? The source can greatly influence the case, implementation, and results.
Frequently, the Finance Council leads this discussion. Hereâ€™s a possible scenario:Â After working with the business manager and pastor to review upcoming expensesÂ and income, there is a shortfall to a balanced budget. The Finance Council has helpedÂ control all the expenses possible, but even still, financial demands are higher thanÂ anticipated offertory.
To secure additional revenue, the idea of an increased offertory program is suggested.Â The narrative that is then articulated focuses on what it would take to get the parish to aÂ balanced budget. Language that is used might involve messages like, â€œIf you give threeÂ dollars per week, could you do five dollars?â€ Or, â€œIf you give twenty dollars a week, canÂ you give twenty-five?â€
Once the budget shortfall is covered, victory is declared and the effort closes downÂ until the next budget shortfall. The entire engagement through this effort is a financialÂ transaction attached to the donorâ€™s wallet. It assumes that when the parish gets back toÂ net-zero dollars, then every need that the parish desires to respond to will then be met.
In a growing number of instances, it is a Stewardship Committee that establishes aÂ path to fully engage every parishioner to be of their best service to the mission of theÂ Church. This process of prayer, almsgiving, and service invites people to participate in all aspects of Church life. This path asks everyone to look at their personal balance sheet â€” and not just their bank account balance, but rather the skills they have and the time they can make available to serve the ministries of the Church.
No longer is the message about a balanced budget. Itâ€™s about what we can do to serve the many missions of the Church â€” together.
Increased offertory programs as part of a stewardship approach take longer to plan, but the good news is that, in turn, the corresponding results last longer.
This approach requires:
+ The parish to assess its needs and opportunities for involvement. How can people be invited to use their time and talent, in addition to treasure?
+ Screening to assess financial opportunities for involvement.
+ A Stewardship Committee that must be deliberately curated and extensively trained.
+ A commitment to making this approach part of the operating culture of the parish.
An approach focused on a full and comprehensive stewardshipÂ effort yields dramatic results. These include significant increasesÂ in Mass attendance, additional volunteers across all ministries,Â and jumps in financial support.
On average, the contributions at a parish that fully practicesÂ stewardship are 19% higher than those that donâ€™t. In additionÂ to becoming a stakeholder in the delivery of your mission, aÂ stewardship-focused approach means that your donors willÂ carefully consider their offertory in a light that allows them toÂ participate in a planned and measured way.
In many instances, when people make an annual decisionÂ about how much they will give (as, for example, a percentage of income or annual dollar amount), contributions increase two-fold or more versus when a decision is made as the offertory basket passes by each week.
Fully implementing a stewardship effort isnâ€™t always easy or quickly done. It must become a culture within the Church. And it requires a willingness to commit to welcoming input and involvement at all levels of the Church.