Church Qualifications for Proper Fund Raising

The raising of funds is a major problem in the church.

JAMES CUNNINGTON, Director, Church Development Service, Pacific Union Conference

The raising of funds is a major problem in any church. Raising funds from within the church for confer­ence projects is a common con­ference administrative prob­lem. When certain conditions exist, fund raising is relatively easy. Under other conditions it is very dif­ficult. Every church family develops an in­dividual personality. Standards of giving become acceptable. Social attitudes toward the purpose of the church are formed. Some churches qualify for successful fund raising; others do not. We will consider three types of church personalities.

1. The growing, expanding, progressive church has problems that are good in them­selves. The school is probably crowded, and the teaching staff should be increased. Membership, tithe, and mission offerings are consistently increasing. There are vari­ous needs for building expansion. The need for local funds is great.
 
2. The stagnant church is one that has experienced little change in several years.

Here one will usually find the same people in office for years. The church is settled in formal routine, and the junior and youth departments are negative or inactive. Church school is either on the downgrade or does not exist. The buildings, though a bit old, are "good enough for us." The church and Sabbath school expense accounts are always in the red. This is some­what overdrawn for emphasis, but is basi­cally correct.

3. The negative church is one that has some factions and social quarrels. Its mem­bers can fall victim to jealous misunder­standings. The nominating committee struggles with a sort of political balance of power. Many members protect personal faults by pointing out the sins of fellow members and ministerial leaders. Fortunately this is not a common picture, but it does sometimes exist.

Of course, any one church will have a complex personality. Many churches will have various degrees of all three types—pro­gressive, stagnant, and negative. Sometimes the unfortunate elements tip the scales in the wrong direction. It is possible for a few individuals to upset an otherwise united church. These things are matters of pas­toral care of the most skillful kind.

Qualifications for successful fund raising are simple. The church needs to be progres­sive and growing. The congregation should recognize these needs with a bit of under­standing. The counsel of age and the vigor of youth must be united. We must love one another for both our strengths and weak­nesses.

Successful fund raising must always be our individual expression of love for God and an eagerness to advance His kingdom. When the spiritual plane is high, the church is growing and the local improvements are above normal. Another related result always follows. The tithe, missions, and other offerings are proportionately increased.

God does not need our money. He needs us. If He were hungry He would not ask us for food, for the world is His. It all boils down to one simple rule—where our treasure is, that is where our heart is going to be. Personal involvement is far more important than many dollars.

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JAMES CUNNINGTON, Director, Church Development Service, Pacific Union Conference

November 1963

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