Funding Your Ministries

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One-Liners for Your General Budget

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | September 5, 2022

If you’re part of a congregation, no doubt people are starting to talk about program plans for the year ahead. But whatever you initiate, people will need to keep supporting it to keep it going. That requires personal investment in the idea, awareness of the purpose, commitment from volunteers, and enough money for staff time…

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How Can a Narrative Budget Help Us?

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | August 31, 2022

Rewritten from a website piece for the California-Nevada Conference of The United Methodist Church Budgets aren’t sexy, but they’re necessary. If you’re a church leader, you’re probably thinking about it these days, as you start putting together your programs for the year ahead. A line item budget is a financial form that reports income and…

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Major Donors and How to Reach Them

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | April 8, 2020

Written for Giving: Growing Joyful Stewards in Your Congregation, Vol. 22, No. 1, By the Ecumenical Stewardship Center The roots of generosity are in habits of the heart, not in one’s bank balance, says Herb Miller,1  recognized authority in church effectiveness. His assertion is as true related to major gift donors as it is of…

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Why People Give to One Cause Over Another

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | June 3, 2019

A longtime friend just asked me, “How do each of us grow a passion for one project or another?” Clearly none of us can give in response to every need, so what prompts us to choose one or some ministries over all the rest? Certainly he’s not the first person to ask that. In fact,…

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Crowdfunding

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | September 26, 2018

With so many natural disasters and national tragedies these days, millions of people have responded through donation-based crowdfunding, where individuals give money for a cause, project or person without receiving anything tangible in return – except a whole lot of satisfaction, knowing they’re and joining others to provide resources and help people out of dire…

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The Big Secret of Giving

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | July 3, 2018

By William C. Green, United Church of Christ, 2007 The Big Secret of Giving: Hidden Treasures in Life and Church is a booklet of 27 devotions related to financial giving, but grounded in a holistic understanding of stewardship as our response to God’s generous grace. While the booklet was written in part to encourage giving…

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Seven Ways to Increase Your Church’s Income

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | June 11, 2018

Denis Greene is a stewardship author and Executive Director of The Church Development Foundation. He gets right to the heart of things in his article, “Seven Ways to Instantly Increase Church Income.” Here are the highlights: 1. Conduct an annual stewardship campaign – Surprisingly, more than half of all congregations don’t conduct an annual stewardship…

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Faith-Based Budgeting, Part 2

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | November 21, 2017

“Faith-based budgeting” does not mean simply guessing at a projected income for our congregation next year, and then hoping to reach it! It involves two dimensions: Spending the church’s money according to priorities that model First Fruits Living and using the rest of the income in a specific order (see Faith-Based Budgeting, Part 1), and…

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Faith-Based Budgeting, Part 1

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | November 16, 2017

Many churches are confirming their budgets now for the year ahead, using the term “faith budget.” In my congregation that means the leaders include a percentage of projected income beyond pledges, to allow for loose-plate offerings, new givers, or second-mile giving. In most situations, it’s a realistic and encouraging thing to do. “Faith-based budgeting” is…

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First Fruits and the Church Budget

By Betsy Schwarzentraub | September 17, 2017

People may think that the church budget is a bone-dry instrument that just monitors church committees, but that’s far from the truth! It reflects its members’ values as surely as a person’s online giving or checkbook mirrors his or her priorities. So what does your congregation’s current budget say about first fruits living? Many church…

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