A few weeks back I was talking with a person who had left their congregation. I asked what made them leave and they said it was the church's stewardship campaign. This particular congregation spent an entire month talking about what monies go to, how they can adjust their spending to give more, and overall fiscal responsibility. Yet, apparently, the focus was not on the bible. The person left because church had become a business instead of a community of believers.
The mainline church is in a funk right now. Most congregations are losing members instead of gaining, and dealing with oversized buildings that are too large for their undersized budgets. They have found the solution is to talk directly to the issue: We need money so let's have a stewardship campaign. We need congregants so let's have a membership campaign. We need programs so let's create programs.
In truth the answer has more to do with the spirit and where it dwells. We were spoiled by the 50's. People felt a need back then to be part of something bigger than themselves. All the church had to do was create a nice welcome mat and the people would come. Today, people are being pulled from 20 different directions. Their children have 5-10 school programs they can participate in. They have to pull more hours at work to have the same amount of pay. So many charities are asking for donations and volunteers. Meanwhile, the church sits vacant with a pretty welcome mat.
The church has to realize congregants give money to a cause, not a budget. The church has to understand people need a purpose to give their effort and time to. It isn't good enough anymore just to put out a welcome mat and see who walks in. If the spirit is alive and well in the church the programs and money naturally follows.