Why Ministers Should Know What People Give


By Larry Wheeler, Former UUA Congregational Stewardship Consultant

Stewardship is a pastoral role for ministers when it comes to congregant giving.  For example, a minister can be part of “solution” if there are issues with an individual’s or family’s gift  commitment, when it’s made or at a later time in the year.

As the Annual Drive is being organized the Minister can be part of discussions about who shouldn’t be approached or if it can be determined that the Minister should make the contact.

People sometimes fall behind in their giving. The Gift Monitoring Committee should check with the Minister before doing anything – in fact, the minister may well be the best person to make that contact.  For example, if someone suddenly makes a significant drop in their giving level, the Minister may want to check things out from a pastoral point of view.

GivingThanks-floralMinisters can offer personal ‘Thank yous”  in a nice way – “your gift makes a  difference” – too often our larger donors receive almost no recognition – and who  better than the minister to acknowledge their generosity?

Ministers can call on people for whom it makes sense for them to contact, such as the Congregation President and the Chair/Co-Chair of the Annual Drive.

Ministers can be an active part of the Stewardship Team’s discussions from the beginning
policy and approach.

A Minister, in reviewing Annual Drive results may notice something about a donor that s/he wants to explore in a careful way, such as new member who makes a particularly large gift.

If it’s known that Ministers are aware of giving levels, then people can feel comfortable
talking with them about their giving and ways that they can be helpful to the congregation.

If the Minister knows giving levels it takes away some of the unnecessary secrecy around money matters and this is a positive change.

We need to trust our Ministers if they are to lead us successfully through all of the challenges of building beloved community!!

~July 2011.  Used with permission of the author.

4 thoughts on “Why Ministers Should Know What People Give

  1. I am SHOCKED that some people support the idea of ministers knowing congregant’s giving levels. I’ve been in UU almost 15 years, served on many committees and have known many ministers and seminarians. I know from experience that when a minister knows who’s giving what, the big givers ultimately run the church (and the wealthiest members in this area often have conservative politics and are AGAINST GLBT rights and other equality issues. I once saw a minister almost totally sweep aside any mention of Side of Love to please some wealthy members.) When a minister knows who the big givers are, those congregants have a disproportionate amount of power because ministers are afraid to disagree with them. It is an injustice that shouldn’t occur in UU churches. If we really adhere to our 2nd principle, “Justice, equity and compassion in human relations”, we should create a rule that states ministers cannot know how much people pledge or donate.


  2. Pingback: POLL RESULTS–Should ministers know about their congregants’ giving to the congregation? | Giving Speaks

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