Sunday, July 26, 2009

There's Always Enough Money

I don’t know who said it first but it’s worth repeating: “There’s always enough money to do God’s work.” I believe (strongly) that the offerings of God’s people ought to be the primary source of support for ministry. However, that does not shut the door to other ways of raising money. Churches have developed some very creative ways of supplementing their income to fund ministries.

1. The one most often used is the fundraiser. The church sells something (food, candy, calendars, cookbooks, etc.) It is usually an item people would not ordinarily buy.

2. Cost recovery for special events is also common. This includes selling tickets to a concert or training event (or love offering), fees for daycare, payment for meals, etc. This means that only the people using the service pay for it.

3. Some share space (rent, lease, split costs) with another organization. This could be another church, a school, or a non-profit group. The idea is to use the building at times when it sits empty. This is particularly commendable when the other organization is doing work that the church finds valuable and it introduces a source of income outside the church membership.

4. Running a business such as a daycare, bookstore, thrift shop or cafeteria is done by churches who want to use the proceeds to fund caring ministries such as a food pantry. This offers a service people are looking for, is a source of income outside the church membership, and can provide jobs in the community.

5. Some churches actually operate businesses such as moving companies and janitorial services that provide jobs for people who transitioning from addictions and/or homelessness. These businesses fund the treatment and housing of the people being served while training them in job skills.

6. Another source of income is grant money from government, religious and non-religious organizations. These grants can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars to do tasks for which the church is called.

I am sure that there are other means of raising funds for ministry along with variations on those mentioned above. I do not want to get into a theology of fundraising. That’s for another time. I’m just saying that it’s rarely money that limits ministry; it is lack of leadership and vision

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