Sharing Church management best practices in the Catholic Church
Giving financially as a spiritual act of discipleship is part of our growth as disciples--not an optional, extra add on for those who are "rich" or do "financial planning" to make major gifts to charities and the like. If you've decided that percentage giving (sometimes called tithing, though historically this would specifically refer to 10%) is the form of giving most likely to go hand-in-hand with discipleship, implementation can be a tough road.
A first question (especially this time of year, as Fiscal Years for churches come to an end) is how do we set the budget?
If percentage giving is about disciples discerning a call to sacrifice and participate in God's work financially, how can a parish staff (or finance council, parish council, etc.) tell them what the total of their giving should be?
Two main techniques for setting the "revenue" part of a budget:
Many parishes also use a combination of these two methods. The most critical piece for discipleship, however, is to not allow the raw $ amounts to drive the reason for giving. We don't give to the parish because the parish needs it. We give because God has revealed this to us as part of communio, part of living as a follower of Jesus Christ.
Practically, shifting to an emphasis on percentage giving means that parishioners need to have a greater understanding and ownership for the reason the parish exists, for the specific mission and vision of being Church in a concrete time/place--for what makes this community of disciples life-changing and essential. Percentage giving generally means that there's an annual (or semi-annual) emphasis for disciples to discern and make a commitment. Logistically, this takes additional volunteer leaders/ministers to carry the message, create materials (like cards or websites so that the parish has an idea of what givers are committing to).
While this may seem like a burden, it's actually a good thing. It's good that the Pastor can't do it alone. The Parish Council can't do it alone. By striving for the widest participation, parishes can come to know the parishioners on the margins--those who aren't experiencing the joy of discipleship, those who are facing financial difficulties, those who've never felt "needed" or a part of this local embodiment of the Body of Christ. And, by moving toward progressive giving as a spiritual sacrifice (rather than "extra money" given to "fundraising at the church") we create the space for believers to experience discerning a tough issue, to experience what feels like a "risk" for God, to pray about something that matters personally to each and every one, to experience what it means to trust.
This post originally appeared at https://practicalevangelization.wordpress.com/