We all love dessert… and maybe salty, fatty snacks. But as all good parents know, growing bodies need more: protein, vitamins, vegetables.
Think of money (pledges) as nutrition for the church, to enable us to attract new members, grow, and keep our body (the church building and what goes on inside) healthy for the future. Well, I have some sobering news. But UUs pride ourselves on examining what’s important, if difficult, so stay with me.
We are committed to growing the church, bringing in people to join us in all we do. We’re excited to see pictures of new members posted in the Parish Hall. But just adding members won’t lead to financial stability. We have a problem that’s getting worse, and we need to acknowledge it honestly.
Did you know that our church receives ¼ of our income from just 13 pledges (individuals or families) and ½ from 42? That’s 15% of the congregation. We can’t keep this up indefinitely. As you may have suspected, these tend to be older members. Although we may not want to contemplate it, they may move away, die, or retire and become less able to be so generous. Because of trends in the economy and local conditions, newer, younger members do not consider themselves as financially secure. As a whole, our congregation has not been sustaining the levels of giving of past years. Yet we still have hopes and needs that we have to pay for.
What’s a church to do??
The rule of thumb is that in a healthy congregation, 25% of the members give ½ of the money needed for the budget every year. At First U this would be 66 pledges or an increase of 24 pledge units giving at the higher level.
Also, half of our pledges are at or above the median of $1200 and half are at or below. If you pledge less than $1200, can you consider increasing closer to $1200 or higher than $1200?
We value each person’s gifts of money and time. Not everyone is able to give all they would like to. But if you can see your way clear to digging a little deeper, to giving according to the Fair Share targets, we can reach the level of a healthy congregation.
Susan Soltys, Stewardship Team