Thursday, September 03, 2009
5 Positives Effects of the Recession for our Congregation!
Adam's post on 3 positive effects of the recession on the church
got me thinking about my local context and how the recession has affected us.
Here are 5 positives effects I could think of that has helped our church family where I serve.
I. Our benevolent policy. We relooked at how we did benevolence. We looked at scriptures such as 1 Timothy 5:4-10 and Matt. 25:31-46. It use to be if there was a need - we helped out. The problem was this might of been enabling the problem rather than solving it. Or in my words - putting a bandage where there is a severed arm. We had to think of ways not only to stop the bleeding but also have it not happen again. We relooked at our benevolence as a leadership and wanted to be better stewards of which God entrusted us with.
II. Intentional about our Resources. As a small to medium sized congregation - reality was we couldn't do it all nor should we. This past Fall I had a crash course in what resources are out there. I had meetings, trying to partner with community agencies and had to research to see what is out there. (Sometimes the work is already done - you just have to find it) We were working with different social service agencies (And I suggest you go and visit your local social services office and befriend them and ask the tough questions - if someone is in need or rent assistance, food, home, etc ... where do I goto? What is out there?)
III. Honest about our Budget. We can't take love offerings for every Sally's sister's cousin's dog's nephew's owner who happens to be circulating on the internet as dying. We can't. We would like to help and love to help but need to be intentional about what God is doing. We had to cut some areas. We had some of our own facility damaged (due to Winds etc) and didn't have a reserve fund but asked our people to step up so God can provide. (We view our facility as a tool and means but not an end - It is a tool of which God has given us to point to the end, Jesus.) Thus honest conversations and talking about not meeting ends if something ongoing with us but we're trusting Him!
IV. Opportunity to serve. Because of a tight budget - we also been honest and because of that people have given. We had a new digital sign out of nowhere - because someone saw a need. We had people give above and beyond to meet several thousand dollars to repair our facility beyond what I can imagine. (IT is only God)
We have people giving of their time, talent, and tithe and discussing it more to do so. We have people organizing our Food pantry. We have a clothes closet which about a year ago was rare to see people come and now is becoming a regulare resource. For a medium size church - these 2 basic needs of food and clothes is huge. It was amazing to see at the end of July people bring truck loads of food for our pantry. People - even without jobs - are trying to find a way to serve.
V. Because of Opportunitues to serve - our giving increases. Not just monetarily. We have people giving of their time and talents. Starting next month - our leadership is going to using this opportunity to give back to the people. How? In the midst of a recession - sometimes the hardest talks to do is about money. Our focus this Fall will be on stewardship, personal finance, and equipping people to manage better of what God has given them. We're not looking for our own Giving to Increase but rather people to view everything they have is not their own anyways - it is God's and to use it wisely. Parable of the Talents.
That is all I can think of. How is the recession affecting the context where you live?