Alan Wildes

Alan Wildes

Best laid plans…..

I was watching a spring training game last night.  The Braves were playing the Mets.  Chris Medlen was the pitcher for the Braves.  Medlen has emerged as the ‘ace’ of the Braves staff going into this season.  In fact, he was named the opening day starter last week by the manager.  He was going to be the opening day starter until Sunday afternoon.


In the middle of an at bat in the middle of the third inning, Medlen walked off the field with his arm tucked down by his side.  He was met by the Braves trainer but never looked up.  He never made eye contact with anyone.  He just walked into the dugout and down the tunnel to the clubhouse.  He knew something was REALLY wrong.

That would be known as a game changer; both short term and potentially long term.

I have worked with many churches to help them with their culture of generosity.  I have been doing several Generosity Audits recently and one of the common threads I have seen is that these churches are not financially prepared for a game changing event.  Most churches live month to month and have no contingency fund.  I know that churches are not in the business of making/saving money, but churches should at least have two months of operating expenses in the bank.

How would your church handle such an experience like the Braves did on Sunday, March 9 when their opening day starter walked off the field in obvious pain?  What would happen if your sanctuary had a fire?  (I went to a church where this happened.)  Are you prepared?  What will happen this summer when the ‘summer giving swoon’ happens?  Will you be ready or will the head of the finance team have to get up on a Sunday in late July or early August and make the ‘annual summer we are behind giving appeal’?

Please know that I am a glass half full kind of guy (at least most of the time).  I’m not trying to be doom and gloom, but it is my job to ask you “Are you financially prepared under the unfortunate circumstances of a negative game changing event in your church?”

If your church is prepared, please tell me and others how well you are prepared?  How did you get to that point?  Was it difficult?  How has it affected ministry planning in your church?

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