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The Fallacy of “Just Enough”

Once upon a time there was a church full of people who loved one another, cherished their music and education programs, and wanted to make the world a better place.  Every year, everybody gave money to their church.  Some of them gave a lot, some less.  Many of them decided what they were able to give, and kept giving the same amount year after year.  Most years, the congregation raised what they needed to keep funding the programs they cared about.  A few years, contributions fell short, so they had to say goodbye to some treasured staff members.  Usually, though, they managed to give just enough to keep the church going.

Some people had dreams of things the church could do if they had more money.  Others wondered if their building needed some attention.  But most were satisfied with just enough staff, just enough classes for children, just enough outreach to their community.

Then one day, someone noticed the building needed new windows and their parking lot was full of potholes.  If only they had raised just a little bit more every year, they would have the funds to fix these problems.

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Could this be any church we know?  Our building is over 50 years old, eligible for AARP if she were human.  The old girl could have used some wrinkle cream, and now she needs a massive facelift.  As we know, our church building will be receiving some overdue repairs, which we need to fund with income from the funds originally set aside for a new sanctuary. In recent years we have not met our pledge goals, which limited the amount of money we could add to the maintenance reserves.

We are faced with a challenge.  Many other parts of the building are likely to fail over the coming decades. Ideally, we would be proactively upgrading and renovating a part of the building every year instead of waiting for something to fail. Right now, our Maintenance Reserves to do this are very small: only $18,000. To be responsible stewards of our building, we must rise to the challenge and increase our Maintenance Reserves. Save the old lady from more plastic surgery with some well-placed wrinkle cream!

This is just one “concrete” (pun intended) example of our situation overall.  If we want to move beyond the “just enough” church to one that fulfills its dreams, we need to support it even more generously. Most things the church pays for have gone up in price, so our income needs to keep pace.  If you’ve been giving the same amount for a few years, can you increase your pledge, even a little more? Please think about it.