Wednesday, December 13, 2017 06:58

Invest in Long-Range Givers–Idea #10

iStock_000007088099X Giving Bible & Wallet

American comic, “Professor” Irwin Corey quipped: “If we don’t change direction soon, we’ll end up where we’re going.”  When you think about your church and its stewardship direction, do you like where it’s going?  I hope so.  But if not, the good news is it’s not too late to change course! 

Increasing giving at your church is not simply a short-term consideration.  Too many churches are dependent week-to-week on what comes in through the Sunday offering.  There is no cushion, no savings, and no serious thought beyond the current budgetary need.  Every year the same people wring their hands over the same issues. 

Perhaps it is time to think down the road.  What are you doing this year to help your church be better financially prepared for the future?  How can you invest in long-range givers so that they learn ways to prudently prepare for their own futures and, at the same time, strengthen the future of the church they love? 

Has your church ever received a planned gift or bequest? If not, you can change that.  Teach your people long-term stewardship and you create for them the opportunity to make a Kingdom difference even after they’re gone.  At the same time you may create a stronger financial future for your church. 

No church can ever calculate future income from planned gifts and bequests.  However, by providing education and opportunities for planned giving now, you increase the likelihood that there will be times in the future when your church is blessed by unexpected legacy gifts.  

One church I know provided free Estate Planning services to their people for years.  Recently when a certain senior citizen graduated to glory, that church received estate gifts valued at a few hundred thousand dollars.  “Who would have thought,” the pastor commented, “that this quiet saint would have done so much for her church through her death.  She stood off to the side during her lifetime, and I’m sure many people never noticed her. But through her estate planning she left the church a huge gift and a blessing for generations.” 

Investigate ways you can provide biblical estate planning education to your people.  EXCEL has always recommended “Estate Planning for Christians” as a part of the Continuation plan for every church involved in one of our capital campaigns.  Now, that same seminar (and the free one-on-one confidential follow-ups) is available to all churches—even those not considering a capital campaign.  Your denomination may offer its own special planned giving seminar. Some Christian estate planning attorneys make free presentations. 

If you look down the road and don’t like where your church is headed, you can change direction today.  By inspiring and discipling long-term givers, you may transform their stewardship legacy and set your church on an entirely new course. 

(c) Linden D. Kirby, Excel Ministries, Inc. 2012. All rights reserved.

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