OCWM Subcommittee Chair Bob Peterson (member, New Brighton UCC) shares his personal perspective on individual and congregational giving. He thinks giving to missions and Our Church’s Wider Mission (OCWM) should be a congregation’s first priority. What is your congregation’s approach to giving?
Christians who use the “Share, Save, Spend” priority system to manage their money decisions find they make better decisions on their spending when they share with others first. The “Share, Save, Spend” priority system is based upon the fact that all money decisions we make are decisions based upon emotions, not on logic. The goal is SHARE- first, whether that is support of church or other charities; SAVE – second, whether that is for retirement, a new car, a different home, etc; and finally SPEND – third, to spend the rest of their money any way they want..
Because we feel good when we help others or support others, doing that first means that we then feel good about ourselves and thus when we make our saving and spending decisions we make better decisions. The same is true with churches: when sharing with others (missions) is the priority of the church, the church then makes better decisions regarding how it spends the rest of its resources.
In the Minnesota Conference, we have few if any “poor” churches, meaning churches where most of the members are below the poverty line. On the other hand we have many, many poorly funded churches. These are churches where the members have the capacity to provide far more resources for the ministry of the church than is their current practice. In churches where support of missions, or helping others, is the number one priority of the church, money needed to pay the expenses of the church (utilities, upkeep and staff salaries), is always available for those bills. On the other hand, those churches that put local expenses as the number one priority while missions get what is left, find at the end of the day, they have neither money for local expenses nor for missions. Church members feel good when their church is helping others and they respond to that sharing with others by giving additional resources to pay the bills.
Our Church’s Wider Mission (OCWM) in the UCC supports the framework that makes many missions possible nationwide and across the globe. Funding OCWM and missions should be the first priority of all churches. While helping others is the priority of all who use the “Share, Save, Spend” priority system, so should churches put helping others first, through OCWM and other mission opportunities. When they do that they will find there is always plenty of money to spend on other expenses.
– Bob Peterson, OCWM Subcommittee Chair