Margaret Marcuson: Never do this with regard to money

I don’t say “never” very often. However, here are a dozen “nevers” about money. 

  1. Never go a year without explicitly asking your people to give, ideally as part of an organized stewardship campaign. 
  2. Never give your people only one method of giving. A blessing of the pandemic is that most churches now have online giving!
  3. Never give your people only one channel for their giving. You can increase your overall congregational giving considerably by giving people additional options beyond the annual campaign. Clayton Smith in his excellent book Propel (Abingdon, 2015), mentions: strategic mission and relief giving, capital giving, memorial giving and planned legacy giving.
  4. Never abdicate all leadership around money matters to lay leaders.
  5. Never volunteer to cut your salary. 
  6. Never let one person have all the responsibility for the money. Always have checks and balances.
  7. Never apologize for asking people to give.
  8. Never forget to say thank you to people who give. A thank you at the bottom of the giving statement is not enough.
  9.  Never be afraid to ask questions about something about your church’s finances that isn’t clear to you.
  10. Never handle cash yourself, as far as possible. Melissa Campbell-Langdell, rector of All Saints Episcopal Church, Oxnard, Ca, notes, “As a pastor in a small church I don't always have the option not to handle cash, but I always have a witness while handling it and make sure to make any interaction as brief as possible before getting it to the safe and thus to the responsibility of others.”
  11.  Never forget to let your people know you support the church financially, too.
  12.  Never be the pastor who never talks about money. 


For more on dealing with money in congregational life, check out my book, Money and Your Ministry: Balance the Books While Keeping Your Balance. Get it here.