The last blog article described South Whitley United Methodist Church‘s bold goal of 100 first-time commitments to Christ during 2015. This church, led by Rev. Chris Stahlman, also has set a goal of dramatically increasing the number of tithing members by giving them this bold offer: “Try tithing for six months. If you’re not satisfied, we’ll refund your money.”
The church has struggled to meet its annual budget. It has tried using a “step-up” stewardship campaign, challenging members to increase their giving a percent of their income each year until they reach a tithe. This year, however, leaders of stewardship decided to take a very different approach.
After researching how other churches raised the level of their members’ financial stewardship, the leadership decided to encourage South Whitley members to practice a 10-10-10-70 spending plan. Save 10%, spend 10% on debt reduction, give 10% to God (tithe), and live on the remaining 70%. To that end, the church challenged its members to practice tithing for the first six months of 2015. If not satisfied with the results, the church will refund their money in full.
The result: thirty families took up the challenge, joining twenty other families who were already tithing. Initial results are astounding. The level of generosity at the Church has more than doubled this past month, despite having lower attendance due to the winter conditions! How have they done this? In part by following up with those who have taking the challenge. The Stewardship Team follows up with the families participating in the 10-10-10-70 challenge with encouragement, tools for success, accountability, and words of thanks.
These leaders not only have stepped out in faith by offering this unique challenge, but they also shared with the congregation how the anticipated surplus money will be spent. They stepped out in faith and, as a result, thirty other families stepped out in faith too–and are being blessed!
— Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director for Church Development