An area which congregations can be found asleep at the switch is extra-curricular giving; giving beyond the weekly budget. The double edged sword needing sharpened is: (1) we need to provide a place for extra giving, and (2) our people with extra money need a place to give. Our people have money. They have unexpected money. I know that the large percentage of the church does not experience sudden cash flow. Precisely, that's why we miss this blessing.
Budget committees lay out annual plans and the congregations belly up to the bar in willing support. Yet, we miss another zone. We need what I will term as "special needs" to fulfill those sprinkled among the congregation who have extra money. In the early 90s I was pressing for $82,000 for a film project. I'll never forget the time and place an unassuming member handed me a check for $30,000. I had no idea his family had money. Where would his money have gone if not this church project. The answer is not to this church.
Every so often a member encounters a nice inheritance, has a cushy insurance settlement, or receives a plush bonus. Because 95% of the members don't have such occurrences, we behave as if big money doesn't exist. It does. A few people throughout the year have surprise money. We need to be positioning ourselves with special projects to help them be good stewards. I challenge church leadership to be good stewards of our good stewards.
While our people in general are very good givers, we aren't forking over all we can. I can raise $700 to $1500 at Memorial on any given Sunday for someone or something needed. What this tells us is extra giving will not dent the stability of the weekly budget.
The reason we are asleep at the switch is so many of those in church position to okay such a funding drive are among the 95% who never have extra. I never have extra. I stretch in my giving and have never understood extra to give. However, after years of experience, I think I know what I'm talking about. Various pockets of members have money (for whatever reason) and they are quite generous. We are failing them when we don't have special high-dollar items calling out for a contributor.
I encourage you to put before your congregation a specialty item costing anywhere from $500 to $50,000. Write me back and tell me you received no funds toward that project. It won't happen! Create. Dream. Imagine. Provide avenues for more giving to encourage the entire congregation. Sharpen the sword on both edges. Arise to leadership responsibility of imagining beyond your personal means. Enjoy the promises of God.