Pastors typically are not economically aware but you need to know what the Stock Market fall means to you. If you don’t think the rise and fall of the Market does not impact your offerings then you are sadly mistaken. Even for those that are not in the Market the rise and fall impacts how they feel about the economy and how their employer or business reacts.
“If the Market goes up I will be able to give more.” That comment was made to me by a committed layperson recently when we were talking about his potential gift to his church. The same man sent me an email on Friday, as the DOW lost 530 points, that said further about his ability to give, “Now we need the stock market to cooperate before we all jump off a roof or out the window.”
When the Market falls unease and uncertainty increase among your donors. This is true whether they are heavily into the Market or not. Since the Crash of 2008 Americans have remained wary about the economy. This has impacted what they have given to charities and the Church. When there is unease on Main Street there will be unease in the pews.
I never understood business until I had a business. I have two degrees both in theology. What I knew about business could have been put into a thimble. I did not understand the pressures of the small business people in my congregation. Even if all your business owners run hot dog stands they feel the winds of economic uncertainty. It does impact what they will give. One year the business does well and thus my tithe is larger. The next it struggles and what we give is less.
I don’t care if you are a Democrat or a Republican or an Independent you had better believe in Trickle Down Economics! When those in your congregation that have businesses however small do well you will receive more money in the plate. When times are tougher you will receive less.
If you have any retired people in your congregation the same applies when it comes to the Market. Their fear is outliving their money. The returns they are now getting on their retirement is far less than the charts they depended upon when they planned their retirements. The quotes I gave above came from a retired church member. Retired people live with an uncertainty that often grips them with fear. Thus what was once the most generous of generations is now scaling back what they feel safe giving away.
Millennials are saddled with a crushing student loan debt and jobs that pay far less than they thought. 7 million of them are in default on their student loan debts! If you don’t think this impacts their willingness and ability to give then you are disconnected from reality.
So, what are you to do? One thing is for certain, you cannot sit back and do nothing. Yet that is what the vast majority of churches are doing, nothing. As one staff member wrote me, “I can’t seem to get anyone here interested in Giving365 at this time.” I hear that a lot. My response is that when they get desperate they will call.
Smart churches don’t wait for a crisis they act! What are you waiting for? Let me help you avoid your own fall.
Mark Brooks – The Stewardship Coach
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