I live in the South where three things matter in life, your church, your football team and NASCAR racing! Drive any road in the south and you will see on windows and bumper stickers NASCAR paraphernalia. In fact you see more NACAR stickers than all other stickers combined. It seems that every person in the south has their favorite driver. One popular driver is Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
If you follow NASCAR you will know that Earnhardt went through a long winless streak. In May of 2011 in a NASCAR race Earnhardt was mere feet from putting an end to that streak. He had it in the bag but he ran out of fuel not far from the finish line and was passed thus extending his losing streak. Earnhardt lost because his car ran out of fuel a half mile from the finish line. Somebody made a mistake in their calculations.
How is your churches fuel tank? If a NASCAR racer runs out of fuel he loses out on the trophy and a large check. However life goes on. For the church the results are far more devastating. We are in an eternal race. We are battling the principalities of this world for Christ's Kingdom. We dare not fail. Our trophies are not made of metal but are the destiny of the souls of men, women, boys and girls. We must keep our tanks full.
When it comes to providing the fuel your church needs to fund ministry you must not run out! Yet almost daily churches are making mistakes in their calculations that lead to empty tanks. What are some of the top mistakes that churches make when it comes to stewardship?
- Failing to Ask. It is not that churches talk too much about money we don't talk about it enough! Churches that make their budgets are not afraid to focus on money and giving.
- Asking to fail. When we ask we often do it in a manner that leads to failure rather than success. Most "asks" are driven by guilt. Effective "asks" are driven by vision. Good vision trumps bad economy. Give your donors a reason to give!
- Lack of planning. Churches have plans for everything why not a stewardship plan? If you don't have a plan you are planning on failure.
- Continuing business as usual. Times have changed and your approach to giving has to change as well. Cash and checkbooks are disappearing. How people give is quickly changing. Go mobile or go home!
- Lack of pastoral involvement. The buck stops with you! Churches that are financially successful are the churches that the pastor is involved in the process.
Can you imagine what would happen if the church ran out of fuel? I'm not talking about gasoline in the tank or food in our stomachs. I am talking about the finances that fuel the ministries at your church. Think of how many lives are touched through your church including your family! We all love our church and we love the ministries of our church. Yet without our members' faithful and sacrificial donations we would quickly run out of fuel.
When you run out of fuel it doesn't mean you won't get to where you want to be it just means you won't be on time! For a church running out of fuel means a loss of momentum and ultimately the loss of ministry. Again we compete for something more than a trophy or a pile of cash. We compete for the destiny of men, women, boys and girls. You can't afford to make mistakes that cause us to run out of fuel.