New stewardship technique
As I serve in the Diocese of Rhode Island, I’m sometimes frustrated with our off the charts stewardship. In a bad way. We are 100th out of 100 domestic dioceses. We are behind even Navajoland.
We are working to change the culture of scarcity, both in the parish I serve and in our entire diocese. But where to begin? Only Connect carries a recent story from New Vision — a fresh idea, recently implemented in a parish in Uganda:
“How can you come into God’s house empty-handed?” the pastor asked the stunned audience. “God has given you free air, which you breathe everyday but you cannot even be thankful by offering anything to his servants?” Joshua rapped. “In God’s name, I order all of you to disappear from here before he turns his anger on you like he did to the Egyptians,” Joshua roared. As if on cue, the worshippers scampered out of the church before he opened his eyes.
After he was done, Joshua apologised to the remaining congregation but stressed that he was fed up with the low collection in the church yet it was always fully-packed before the sermon. The evicted worshippers were heard complaining about how they could be chased from God’s house, their only consolation whenever they had problems.
That seems a little harsh, though it’s tempting. At dinner tonight here in the big city, it was suggested that we clergy ought to do the collection ourselves. Maybe people would be shamed into giving more. Still, maybe there’s a joy-filled way to reach people, to encourage generosity? If we can’t figure that one out, it’s nice to know there are backup plans ready to go.