The Master’s on giving?


I love golf.  I love the Master’s.  Most people who love golf also love the Master’s and the tradition that comes with it.  I was able to watch the ceremonial first tee off live this morning.  The Master’s always brings back one or two previous champions to officially get each year’s tournament started.  This year the two former champions were Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. 

I grew up watching those two guys dominate golf.  Arnold was on the tail end of his career and Jack was getting toward the end, but in the late 70’s they were both certainly contenders in any tournament they played in.  Neither of the two play on the regular tour anymore, but the PGA understands the value of having their legends involved in the game and the promotion of the game.   For goodness sake the PGA created a Senior Tour and it makes money!  Golf understands the value of having their sages around to keep things in perspective and offer wisdom at appropriate times.

I then began checking emails this morning and saw an email from leadership network promoting their latest online conference called SAGE.  http://sage.leadnet.org/  Leadership network has done two online conferences already and this one appears to be as creative and relative as the others.  This conference will involve men and women who have been in ministry for many years who will be talking about what they would change if they could go back and do their ministry over again.  The bible is full of stories about how the older generation passes wisdom and knowledge down to the younger generations.

These two events caused me to think about how the churches utilizes (or do not utilize) the sages in their congregations; especially as it pertains to giving.  The 50 – 75 year olds is the group in any church that has the highest giving potential.  There are exceptions to this rule, but by and large the highest % of any church budget comes from this generation.  Don’t we need to listen to them?

I talk to finance teams in many churches and they are always full of great people with great minds as it pertains to business and money.  I am seeing a growing trend of finance teams getting younger and younger.  We always want to stay current and relevant in the church and the younger generation is often the connection to relevance.  However, we always need to have some of our sages on the team who understand the connection between the past and now.  We can’t have the attitude “Well, this is the way we have always done it.”, but we can’t abandon principles from years ago that are still applicable today.  We don’t want to change things for change sake.

I would encourage you to think about the last time you got your sages together to talk about the financial situation at your church.  When was the last time you intentionally asked the opinions of your congregation as it pertains to finances, stewardship, and generosity.  There is great value in having small group opportunities for people to come and hear a presentation on the current financial state of the church, the vision plans, and the church’s generosity game plan.  I would encourage you to have the small groups age specific so you can get a feel for where each generation of your church stands on these topics. 

I would be especially interested in what your sages would have to say.  They give the most dollars so I think we should pay attention to what they say and feel.  We need our sages.  They have been there and done that.  We can learn from their successes and failures. 

Does your church have regular listening opportunities for the congregation?  If so, I’d love to hear about them.

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