Year-end giving

December 9, 2009

in Beyond the Marriage, Gifts

Yes, I am going to ask for money at the end of this – but I really want to make some general comments about giving. So please read all but the end if you are not donating here. Given the importance of what we do with out money, I think this is very much a marriage issue.

The people who understand how donations effect ministry usually don’t talk about it because it seems self serving. If that is how this comes across, oh well. For a couple of decades I have had friends who work for donation supported ministries (which includes most church pastors) or charities. For the last 3½ years my income has come from donation supported ministries (the majority of that from the day job). So, I have a lot of experience with this issue. Let me share some of what I know:

  • I know that most of the folk living this way are never sure of their income (FYI, our situation is better than most) and that this uncertainty can result in a good deal of stress.
  • I know that giving has been down pretty much across the board for over a year now.
  • I know that giving fell drastically after 911 (Sept 11, 2001) and for most ministries and charities donations have never fully recovered.
  • I know that many organisations, including some very large and well know ones, will have to scale back and layoff personnel if they do not receive record level year-end giving.
  • I know that lack of donations over the last few years has forced belt tightening and rethinking – which can be a good thing.
  • I know that lack of donations over the last few years has resulted in less ministry and loss of service to some folks who desperately needed what was being provided by various ministries and charities.
  • I know that donations are more than just money to those who receive them – donations are a vote of support.

I also know that a lot of folks think “my little amount won’t really help” – and that is just not the case. You see the Salvation Army folks with the red kettles ringing the bells? The average donation is two dollars, but last year they raised $130 million! (BTW, you can give to the Salvation Army here.) The same principle works with smaller groups too – a few dozen folks giving $5 to $20 a month can make a huge difference to a small ministry. Please think about what you can give, and about where that money should go. Consider that maybe your monthly donation might be better split among several organisations rather than all put in one place. Don’t over look the “vote of support” that a donation means, and cast that vote for those you wish to encourage in what they are going.

Do I give? Fair question. Each January my bride and I pray about where we will give for the next year. This year we supported five ministries, including one indigenous overseas missionary and two couples involved in marriage and emotional healing ministry. We usually give monthly by bill-pay because it’s easy, automatic, and under our control. How much do I give? Let’s just say Turbo Tax always tells me my giving is way high for my income.

One last thing before I give my own pitch – if you are involved in a traditional church, please, please, PLEASE give your pastor, and his/her family, something extra before the end of the year. I know a number of pastors who took a pay cut this year, and many others who did not get a cost of living raise because of lost giving. A pulpit pastor’s job is one of the most difficult and stressful jobs there is, and wondering how they are going to pay the bills just makes it worse.

So my plea for a bit of support:

First let me be honest – no one is going hungry, and no bills will go unpaid if there is not an outpouring in response to this. By God’s blessing and our efforts, we have a low cost of living, and a day job that is very flexible. But this does not mean donations are unneeded. More money means we can get more done on the marriage ministry stuff. We have a lot we would like to do, and to some degree what gets done depends on money. Even more, how long it takes to get things done is influenced by donations.

So, if you can make a year-end one time donation, that would be awesome. If you can set up a recurring monthly donation (via PayPal or bill-pay) that would be even better. PayPal information here. Mail checks (payable to The Marriage Bed) or bill-pay to:

TGH
c/o The Marriage Bed, Inc.
PO Box 295
Clayton, WA 99110-0295

Yes, we are 501(c)(3), so US donations are tax deductible.

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