I recently had the opportunity to re-read Henri Nouwen’s small booklet entitled, The Spirituality of Fundraising. It is a concise but powerful book developed from an informal speech he gave in 1992. One of the things that struck me the most was Nouwen’s view of fundraising as a ministry. It is proclaiming what we believe in such a way that we offer other people an opportunity to participate with us in our vision and mission. We have a vision that is so amazing and exciting that we invite others to share the resources God has given them – energy, prayers, and money – in this work to which God has called us.
Fundraising, or talking about giving, is also a call to conversion, for both those who seek funds and those who have funds. We are drawn together by God, who is about to do a new thing through our collaboration. By giving people a spiritual vision, they will, in fact, benefit by making their resources available to us. They will become more prosperous by giving since it will be good for their spiritual health. If we do not connect donors with our spiritual vision, we have not created a successful relationship, and we are just begging for money. But if we have successfully connected donors with our ministry vision, then talking about giving is as spiritual as a sermon, prayer, visiting the sick, and feeding the hungry.
I pray that we all find a way to help our congregants find a way to embrace a spiritual vision of being a courageous church, loving like Jesus, acting for justice, and united in hope. If we can somehow accomplish that, we will change the lives of not only our donors but the people with whom we share our community, our country, even our world.
The way lives are changed through our generosity is what is important. So, thank you for your generous apportionment giving. But for those who want numbers, our year-to-date apportionment contributions through October are shown in the following graph:
For the first ten months of 2017, our churches contributed 65.3% of their apportionments. As you can see from the detailed report, this was 0.6% below last year and 1.3% below our average apportionment contributions through October for the previous ten years. The South District improved 4.0% from last year, the West District was up 0.9%, the East District was down 0.9%, and the North District declined 8.7%. Seven churches have not yet been able to make any apportionment contributions for 2017. Based on results for the first ten months of this year, we currently project an overall year-end apportionment contribution percentage of 84%-86%. Click here to find the reports by month.
Remember that apportionments are a way to look beyond just ourselves. Please do all that you can to help our churches and our ministries continue to change lives by contributing apportionments as fully as possible in the last two months of 2017. Note that the cutoff for receiving 2017 apportionments in the Conference office is Friday, January 12, 2018.
Thank you all for your commitment; it truly provides the financial stability for our connectional programs to work.