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.
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.